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CM for special status for HP apples

Written by: Staff
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Shimla, July 5 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government has requested the Centre to include apple in the ''Special product category'' to protect the interests of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttranchal horticulturists.

Speaking in the meeting of draft approach paper for Eleventh Plan of the Planning Commission at New Delhi yesterday, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said since agreement on agriculture was yet to be finalised at the WTO meeting, the Centre should take immediate remedial steps to safeguard the interests of the fruit growers of the hilly region.

He said the Himachal Pradesh Government has initiated a number of measures to attain higher growth in agriculture sector, while promoting contract and organic farming in the state.

Mr Singh said his government has amended the APMC Act, besides chalking out a massive diversification programme for higher value addition and higher returns to the farmers.

Seeking relaxation in the physical parameters, area qualifications and activity mix for setting up special economic zones in hilly states, he said this was necessary due to their location, topographic and connectivity disadvantages.

Keeping in view locational disadvantages in rail and air networks, the Chief Minister urged the Centre to include all the state capital airports under upgradation plan through ''inhouse capacity'' of AAI and also stressed the need to upgrade the existing airstrip at Shimla.

MORE UNI AS HS ARB ND1608

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