Himachal wants import duty on apples hiked

August 3rd, 2011 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, Aug 3 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Wednesday requested the central government to enhance import duty on apples and designate it a ’special product’ to protect the domestic fruit industry.

State Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta met Union Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi and apprised him about the economic impact of dumping of apples at much cheaper rates by developed countries, including China, in the domestic market.

“The apple growers in the state alone have suffered a loss of Rs.100 crore during the current apple season,” an official statement quoting Bragta said here.

He said the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic government in the centre had increased the import duty on apples up to 50 percent in 2000-01 by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the request of the state.

Bragta, a prominent apple grower in the state, has requested the union government to designate apples as a “special product” to protect the interests of the growers.

Even the state opposition Congress has demanded a hike in import duty on apples.

Congress leader Vidya Stokes said she has also apprised the central government a number of times in this regard.

The economy of the state is highly dependent on apples, besides hydropower and tourism.

The state is annually producing around 600,000 tonnes of apples, which accounts for more than 80 percent of total fruit production in the state.

Apple is grown in nine of the 12 districts and 1.6 lakh families are directly dependent on its cultivation.

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