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Apple Growers Block Shimla-Narkanda Highway to Protest Against APMC for its Inaction Against Fraud Agents

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Apple Grower Protest against APMC at narkanda

Shimla- Apple growers on October 16, 2019, blocked the Shimla-Narkanda Highway near Kainthla mode (curve) for about three hours as a protest against the inaction of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) against defaulter commission agents who have not paid the growers for their produce.

Enraged farmers demanded action against fraud agents and only opened the road after the officials of district administration assured that action would be initiated from October 17, 2019, onwards.

It’s pertinent to mention that a large number of farmers have lodged complaints with APMC as well as CID against agents who haven’t cleared payments for their produce. A couple of months ago, farmers had even filed FIRs against such agents and had managed to recover some of the payments. A Special Investigation Team was also formed in response to protests staged by growers. However, the majority of defaulters are still at large.

The Agriculture Minister Ramlal Markanda has already expressed his helplessness in checking fraudulent practices and help farmers recover their payments by saying that the government does not have any control over APMC. He also claims that the new APMC Bill 2019 needs to be passed to gain this control.

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti led by MLA, Theog, Rakesh Singha, has been raising the issue of fraudulent practices in the apple market for several months now. Farmers have been alleging that commission agents, who are conducting business without a licence, are now disappearing without paying for the produce purchased from them.

Also, unjustified cuts were being made by commission agents while procuring apple produce. 

Not only this season, but there are several growers who have not been paid for their produce since 2015. These pending payments amount to crores of rupees.

“JKB – a trader based in Narkanda- had been delaying the payments of several growers  worth crores after making purchases. He had assured that payments would be cleared on October 16, 2019. However, his office is closed, the phone is switched off for the last four days and he didn’t show up,”

said Rakesh Singha.

“As the end of the season is approaching, such agents are fleeing one by one under the nose of the APMC and administration,”

he added.

The farmers alleged that APMC is supposed to act against such defaulters under the provisions of APMC Act 2005 and help them recover their payments. However, neither APMC nor any other agency of the state government is willing to act.

There is a strict provision in the APMC Act that prohibits commission agents from conducting business in markets without a license. These agents are required to obtain a licence from the APMC or Agricultural Department. Also, these agents are required to deposit some amount of money as a guarantee to prevent them from cheating with farmers. In case, they fail to pay the farmers in time, APMC has the power to take action against them.

However, despite these provisions, APMC is in deep slumber, completely reluctant to act.

These agents have devoured crores of rupees from farmers under the patronage of APMC and the government, alleged the Samiti. It also alleged that inaction of APMC suggests that there is a strong nexus of government and commission agents that is looting farmers without any fear of legal action.

The farmers today also demanded that action should be initiated against culprit officials of APMC, who did not act timely on the complaints and indirectly patronized fraud agents.

The Samiti has given a deadline of October 26 and warned that more farmers would join the protest in future if the government still not acted.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Scientist Conferred National Fellowship for Outstanding Work in Floriculture, Landscaping

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Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni 1

Solan: Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has been conferred fellowship of the Indian Academy of Horticultural Sciences. The fellowship was conferred for Dr Gupta’s outstanding contributions to the field of floriculture and landscaping.

Dr Gupta is presently working as the Dean of College of Horticulture and Centre of Excellence for Horticulture, Research and Extension, Thunag, Distt Mandi. He was conferred with the fellowship during the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi held recently.

Born in Mandi, Dr Gupta obtained his BSc and MSc in 1986 from Agra University. After completing his doctorate in horticulture (Floriculture and Landscaping) from IARI, New Delhi, Dr Gupta joined UHF as Assistant Floriculturist in 1988. He served as Professor and Head of Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture for 12 years after which in 2019 he became the founding dean of the fourth constituent college of the university at Thunag.

Dr Gupta During the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi


Dr Gupta has been associated in the development of seven hybrids of Gladiolus, five hybrids in Marigold, four hybrids in Antirrhinum and 3 hybrids in Pansy besides a patent named ‘HIMFLORA- a computerized botanical database of wild ornamentals of Himachal Pradesh’. Two varieties, Solan Mangla of Gladiolus and Solan Shringar of Chrysanthemum were released in 2014 and Virbhadra Singh, a variety of carnation was released in 2016.

Besides being the National Chairman for DUS testing of Carnation and Lilium under PPVFRA, Dr Gupta is a life member of various professional societies. The American Biographical Institute, USA conferred on him an honorary appointment in the year 2000. He is also the Fellow of Society for Recent Development in Agriculture and Indian Society of Ornamental Horticulture (ISOH) and the recipient of ISOH’s Lotus Puraskar 2011. He also won the Dr Manmohan Attawar Gold Medal Award in floriculture for the year 2016 by the Horticultural Society of India.

In his career spanning over nearly 31 years in teaching, research and extension including administration, Dr Gupta has guided several MSc and PhD students and has numerous research papers, books, book chapters, popular articles, and technical bulletins to his credit.

He has handled more than 17 externally funded and 8 state-funded research projects. UHF University Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal and other scientists and staff and students congratulated Dr Gupta on his achievement.   

 

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ITBP Head Constable from Himachal Among 6 Shot Dead by Own Colleague

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Himachal ITBP head constable mahinder singh

Shimla-Six personnel reportedly died and two were injured when one of them opened fire with his service rifle following some dispute at an ITBT camp in insurgency-hit Narayanpur district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh on November 4, 2019.  This information was released by the Director General of Police,Chhattisgarh, DM Awasthi.

One of the personnel, Head Constable Mahender Singh, hailed from Barthi area of Bilaspur district. He is survived by his parents, wife, and two sons.

As per the DGP, there was some dispute which led to this fratricidal incident in which one of the personnel, Constable Masudul Rahman (West Bengal), opened fire on his colleagues at the Kedarnar camp of ITBP’s 45th battalion.  

“The ITBP personal who shot his five colleagues committed suicide with his own rifle and died on the spot,”

TOI quoted DGP.

As per another report, while the reason for the dispute is still not known, there is a speculation that the constable accused of opening fire was upset as he wasn’t granted leaves. However, the exact cause was yet to be ascertained.

Other four deceased included Head Constable Daljit Singh (Punjab), Constable Surjit Sarkar (West Bengal), Biswaroop Mahtoo (West Bengal) and Brijeesh (Kerala).

 Injured were identified as constable SB Ullass (Kerala) and constable Sitaram Doon (Rajasthan).

A probe has been ordered, ITBP officials confirmed.  

 

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Monkey Sterilization in Himachal Working, Farmers Feeling Relieved, Claims Forest Minister

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Monkey Sterlization in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Forest, Transport and Youth Sports Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, claims that sterilization of monkeys has proved to be a successful solution in Himachal Pradesh and providing relief to the farmers. So far, one lakh 57 thousand monkeys have been sterilized in eight monkey sterilization centres of forest department in the state, the Minister claimed.

While the people did not report any relief from monkey menace, the Minister claimed the situation has improved as per the government.

He said the incentive to capture monkeys has been increased to Rs. 1000. Local people would be given training by the forest department to capture monkeys. It was discussed that workshops should be organized in vulnerable panchayats to provide training to the locals.

The Minister was presiding over one day workshop on ‘Human-Wildlife Conflict’ at Shimla organized by the Wild life wing of Himachal Pradesh Forest Department on November 3, 2019.

Forest Minister said that 548 panchayats of the state are vulnerable to monkey menace.

Principal Chief Conservator Dr Savita said 1100 monkey hotspots have been identified in the state. She informed that 91 Tehsils/sub-Tehsils and Municipal Corporation Shimla area have been declared vermin for a period of one year.

Emphasis was laid on the plantation of fruit-bearing saplings in forests so that monkeys don’t enter human settlements in search of food.

However, no discussion was done on keeping human settlements clean and discourage littering of food waste which attracts monkeys, especially in cities.

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