Payment of arrears to apple growers in Himachal Pradesh touched Rs 2,449.19 lakh owing to fund crunch and the liability has been pending since 2013, state Horticulture Minister Mohinder Singh informed the assembly on Monday.
The reason for not making the payments to the farmers is due to the fact that procurement of culled apple was more than double in comparison to the last year, he said in a written reply to CPM member Rakesh Singha.
The liability of the payment is being carried forward since 2013-14. The budget allocated under the scheme was as per the procurement of the previous year. The total amount to be paid to the farmers by HPMC (Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corp) up to January 31 is Rs 2,449.19 lakh, he said.
The HPMC is unable to pay interest to the farmers for delayed payments due to its poor financial position, the minister added.
Himachal Pradesh is one of India's major apple-producing regions, with more than 90 per cent of the produce going to the domestic market.
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