Terming apple prices crisis in Himachal Pradesh as a well-thought conspiracy of big corporates like Adani –Ambani to rob orchardists of their lands, forms and produce, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Saturday said it will not take him much time to create Delhi-like protest in the hills on the apple issue.
Tikait said “ I am here to talk about apples and crisis created by sudden crash in the prices for the apple boxes. Media reports ,as I have seen, suggest a shocking drop of Rs 16 per kg this time for the apples offered by Adanis –a corporate house responsible for unrest among the farmers in the country”.
“We have surrounded Delhi from all four corners. We are not going to leave Delhi’s borders till three controversial laws are withdrawn and the government holds a meaningful dialogue with farmers on major demands. We will also go to states wherever the farmers are in the crisis,” he said, threatening to create similar conditions for the government in Himachal Pradesh also.
His statement in Shimla, and earlier a ruckus at the Marketing complex of the APMC at Solan on his arrival to Himachal Pradesh, evoked a strong reaction from the state government .
“We will not allow people like Tikait to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in Himachal Pradesh. The interests of the farmers and apple growers are very well protected. They are free to sell their produce anywhere in India, and also directly to the buyers. The price crash is the result of a glut in the markets and it’s a phenomenon happening every season,” said Suresh Bhardwaj, Shimla MLA and the minister for Urban Development.
Bhardwaj asserted, "Tikait is welcome to visit Himachal Pradesh as a tourists but should not bring his political agenda ,and spoil the atmosphere in the state where fruit economy has brought prosperity to the farmers"
At Solan, Tikait supporters raised slogans after some local traders objected to holding their protest in the market yard, where the apple laden trucks’ entry got blocked temporarily .
Tikait’s supporters termed this ruckus as handiwork of the BJP-RSS cadres .
Talking about the farmers issues, Tikait maintained that till artiyas (commission agents) were handling the apple produce, the growers faced no problems. But, the entry of big corporates like Adani and Ambani has robbed the farmers of their interests to get better price /rates of the produce in the markets.
“I am here to talk about the apples and how Adani group has tried to exploit the orchardists over the years as having set-up CA stories to buy apples at lower rate and then sell the same at exorbitant price making a huge profit,” he added
The BKU leader warned that if the farmers decided to smash down all the facilities vz CA stories in Himachal Pradesh, set-up by the Adanis, only the state government will be responsible for forcing them to take such a step.
He gave a call to the farmers /orchardists to unite under one banner against the policies of the government, which are only aimed to benefit the big corporations.
Tikait favoured transport subsidy for the farmers to take their produce to the markets, hill allowance and setting up of more agro-based industries.
The BKU leader said he would meet farmers unions, affected orchardists and will also travel to the areas affected by the hailstorm that is cited as reason for damage to the apple crop, and drop in the prices at wholesale markets.
A minor protest was also registered by locals while he was leaving for Shimla as people told his supporters not to raise slogans.
He took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan to double farmers' income by 2022.
“What is happening in the state, which has your (PM ) own party government? You (Modi) have only helped the Adanis and other corporates, not anyone else,” he said.