Delhi's commission agents flourish on Himachal's horticulturists

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Shimla, May 5 (UNI) Sanjay Dhani left a career in teaching for taking care of his family's apple orchids in Kotkhai area of Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh.

However, eight years later he is regretting his decision.

From greasing cop's palms to paying a large number of taxes and other expenses to ensure that his fruits reach Asia's biggest fruit at Azadpur in Delhi safey, Dhani's every sale deals ends on a sour note for him.

Besides, the vagaries of an unpredictable weather and huge increase in the costs of pesticides, labour and transportation, he has to shell out a huge amount of money to the Azadpur's commission agents to ensure the sale of his fruit produce.

''Commission agents in the New Delhi's Azadpur market are charging about eight per cent commission from us (growers) on the gross sale of the produce, against the norms,'' Mr Dhani says.

He says the agents should be charging this commission from the buyer and not the grower as per the norms.

However, the agents are charging this amount not only from the seller, but also from the buyer and for years now, he says.

But he is not the only one to suffer. Several horticulturists from the state have suffered for years now.

And the worst is farmers and the orchids are still undergoing the ordeal despite several pronouncements by the successive state and central governments to resolve the issue.

Says Dinesh Sharma of Jubbal in Shimla district that following the opening of subzi mandis at several places within the state during the last few years and the existence of another in Chandigarh, the majority of the growers have started selling their produce there.

''These have emerged as preferred fruit sale markets because of viable freight charges, no commission being charged from the growers and the best hostel facilities available for them in the vicinity as against non existent residential facilities in Azadpur,'' he says.

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