Dharamsala, Feb 16 (PTI) To the relief of apple growersin the state, Himachal Pradesh today announced it will becomethe first state in Asia to install ''anti-hail guns''.
The equipment has already been tested successfully, stateHorticulture Minister Narender Bragta said.
It has been installed in Shimla with a cost of Rs 3crore, he said.
He said guns have been installed in three different areasrich in apple growing and the radar is established at thehighest point at Kara patther.Whenever the radar will detect hail bearing clouds, theguns will automatically fire to change hails in to rain, headded.
The range of one gun shall be 3 km in radius.
He said the instrument shall start functioning inMarch-April during the blooming period of apple trees.
Bragta said, "If successful, the project shall beextended to other areas of the state."
He said another project of the similar nature is undertrails. This will be an anti-frost mechanism to give relief tothe mango growers in the lower regions of the state.
In this, some firms of Pune are also working with thehorticulture department of the state, he said.
The minister said Himachal is developing its own mandifor fruit growers, especially apple growers, with the cost ofRs 2,300 crore in the area of its production, so thatmiddle-men margins could be reduced to get them better pricesfor their produce.
The state will create a special road corridor for thetrucks carrying the apple crop to markets without trafficconjunction and free movement during the monsoon. This shallcost another Rs 100 crore, he added.
Bragta said, "Setting up of a mandi for the products ofthe lower regions in the state, is also in the pipe line.
He said, "The state government has signed an MoU withBaba Ram Dev''s Patanjli Yogpeeth to sell 750 tonnes of appleconcentrate per year. This will give a permanent market to thegrowers," he added.