Apples pile up in Himachal Pradesh due to bad roads

Shimla, Aug 26 (ANI): Apple growers of Himachal Pradesh have suffered severe losses, as their harvest is not getting transported to markets in time due to the poor state of roads.

The heavy monsoon rains have damaged the roads severely, leading to frequent roadblocks and huge traffic jams. As a result, the crop is unable to reach markets in time and often gets spoilt in the process.

The most damaged road is the 80km long Theog-Hatkoti Highway in Shimla district. Around 60 percent of the state's apple produce passes through this route, but the road is damaged at many places.

Thousands of boxes of apples are now lying on roads, villages and in trucks, and farmers according to an estimate, are suffering losses to the tune of Rs 1.8 billion.

"The condition of roads throughout the state, whether they are national highways or state highways or link roads, they are in a worst condition that we have seen for the last 10-15 days," said Sanjay Chauhan, an apple grower.

"According to a rough estimate that our organisation has done, about 180 crores have been lost by the farmers due to these worst condition of the roads. Government is not initiating any steps to maintain these roads," he added.

The Road and Transport Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mohinder Singh, said that different departments are working collectively to make all roads operational.

"In some areas, the amount of rainfall has been more than the expected rainfall because of which the roads have got damaged. The non-metalled roads have broken up and some roads have been closed because of it," said Singh.

"Public Works Department is trying hard to repair those roads. Machines and labour have been employed so that all the roads of the state can be opened for transport," he added.

Apple growers in the state this year have already been badly affected due to a hailstorm, which resulted in huge losses. The bad condition of roads is also resulting in shortages of trucks, and subsequent overcharging.

Bad roads are mainly affecting the apple growers in rural Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts of state. The areas of Rohru, Theog, Kotgarh, Narkanda, Rampur, Jubble, Kotkhai and chopal and Kinnaur have also been affected. By Hemant Chauhan (ANI)

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