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Himachal apple farmers stage protest, demand rollback of hiked GST

The key demands of the farmers include rollback of increased Goods and Service Tax (GST) on apple cartons, which has been hiked from from 12 per cent to 18 per cent.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Shimla |
August 5, 2022 10:30:10 pm
The farmers also reiterated their long standing demand of raising import duty on apples from 50 to 100 per cent to boost sale of local produce.(File photo)

Hundreds of apple farmers from across Himachal Pradesh staged a protest against “regressive” government policies outside the state secretariat on Friday.
On Friday, More than 1,500 farmers gathered outside the secretariat building in Chotta Shimla after marching from Sanjauli. The farmers have been protesting against various apple-related issues, from price rise to GST on packaging materials.

The day’s protest saw participation of farmers from apple belts, including Rohru, Sirmaur, Kotgarh among others, with members of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha too lending support to the agitation.

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On Friday, the farmers first assembled at the Naubahar crossing, from where they marched towards the secretariat building while raising slogans against the government. The police had put up barricades to stop the farmers, with a minor scuffle taking place at one such barricade.
Apple production is the primary, Rs 5000 crore business of the state, with farmers claiming that the state’s new policies will significantly hit their revenues from this harvest season on wards.

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The key demands of the farmers include rollback of increased Goods and Service Tax (GST) on apple cartons, which has been hiked from from 12 per cent to 18 per cent. The farmers are also demanding subsidy on fertilisers and pesticides, along with implementation of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) as per categories of apples on the lines of that of Kashmir — the state which has emerged as a major competitor to the state’s supply chain.

The farmers also reiterated their long standing demand of raising import duty on apples from 50 to 100 per cent to boost sale of local produce.

“There have been no considerations for apple growers, despite the fact that more than 50 per cent of the state’s population is engaged in farming of the fruit. The last few years have been the worst for the community. With increased prices from basic purchase of fertilisers to packaging, we are bearing more costs than profits. If the state and the Central government do not amend their policies, we will be in major trouble,” said a protesting farmer from Rohru

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First published on: 05-08-2022 at 10:30:10 pm

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