SHIMLA-16th June, 2024-Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu stated that for the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh, the state government has cleared all the liabilities of apple growers under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS). He said that Rs. 153 crore have been released to clear the liabilities, including a hefty burden of Rs. 90 crore left by the previous government.

The Chief Minister stated this during his visit to Narkanda under Theog Assembly Constituency of Shimla district today. During his visit, he also met local residents and listened to their grievances, while assuring that the concerns would be addressed on a priority basis.

Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the previous government had halted subsidies on apple pesticides, fertilizers and other products important for carrying out agriculture and horticulture works. "My government reinstated the subsidy immediately, ensuring both reach and availability of quality products to farmers," he said. "The state government has made a historic increase of Rs. 1.50 per kg in the support price of culled apples, raising the support price to Rs. 12 per kg. Last year, the government ensured the sale and purchase of apples was mandatorily done on per kilogram basis. This year, in yet another historical step in favour of horticulturists, the universal carton system has been implemented," he added.

Sh. Sukhu said that the state government was exploring the possibility of installing a ropeway from Narkanda to Hatu Temple and also plans to widen the Hatu Mandir road. He added that there was immense potential for development of tourism in the Upper Shimla region and the Government was making every possible effort to promote tourism activities. "Our Government has allocated Rs. 5 crore for setting up an ice skating rink at Narkanda. A multipurpose sports hall will also be constructed here. Efforts are also underway to upgrade the Dhalli to Narkanda road to a four-lane highway, with provision of tunnels to improve accessibility for the commuters," remarked the Chief Minister. He said that a discussion will be held shortly with the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari regarding the implementation of this project.

Sh. Sukhu said that Rs. 4500 have been transferred to the bank accounts of 173 beneficiary women in the Narkanda area as a three-month pension under the Indira Gandhi Pyari Behna Sukh-Samman Nidhi scheme. He added the amount includes arrear for the last two months as promised, with remaining applications under review. A total of Rs. 1.15 crore has been disbursed recently to 2,569 women in Shimla district at the rate of Rs. 4500 each, under the scheme.

He further stated that during last year's monsoon-led disaster, the state government worked tirelessly to provide adequate relief to the affected people. Adequate funds were also provided to panchayats for the immediate restoration of damaged roads. Furthermore, the state government also facilitated the transportation of apples to markets, saving farmers from significant losses, he added.

Earlier, Sh. Sukhu paid obeisance and offered prayers at Hatu Mata Mandir for peace and prosperity of the people of the state. He also planted a sapling at Narkanda Circuit House.

Accompanying him were his wife Kamlesh Thakur, MLA Kuldeep Rathore, Vice-Chairman of HP Forest Development Corporation Kehar Singh Khachi, Chairman of HP Co-operative Bank Devender Shyam, Former MLA Rakesh Singha, Additional Chief Secretary Onkar Chand Sharma, DC Shimla Anupam Kashyap and other dignitaries.