New Delhi, Sep 23 (Agency) Himachal Pradesh Assembly showed concern the way foreign Apple is being dumped in Indian Market through Afganistan and truck is coming to India voa Bagha border. The issue of illegal import of apples in Indian markets was raised in Himachal Assembly on Saturday. Theog MLA Kuldeep Rathore said Iran’s apples are being brought to the country’s markets via Afghanistan, because there is no import duty on Afghan apples. He said it is being brought from Bagha border. Therefore, to avoid import duty, traders are bringing it through Afghanistan. This should be stopped. This has not only created a crisis for the Apple industry of Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, but the Center is also facing loss in terms of revenue.
“Himachal’s apple industry will be ruined if import duty is reduced” Kuldeep Rathore said also urged the opposition i.e. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the House to raise this issue with the Centre and request them to stop the illegal import of apples. Also demand to keep the import duty on Washington Apple at 70 percent. In the month of June itself, the Centre has reduced the import duty on Washington Apple from 70 percent to 50 percent. Kuldeep Rathore said that now there are preparations to extend Special decrease to 15 percent, It should not happen. He said due to this, Himachal’s apple industry worth Rs 5000 crore will be ruined and the apple industry which provides livelihood to thousands of families will be ruined. Replying to this issue Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi said before becoming the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had promised to increase the import duty on apples in Hamirpur in 2014. The central government did not fulfill this promise even in nine years. On the contrary, now the import duty has been reduced and the gardeners are worried.
These government figures are the reason for the concern of gardeners. The concerns of Himachali gardeners have started increasing due to the arrival of Iranian apple and reduction in import duty on Washington apple. The reason for their concern is the figures of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. According to the ministry, in the year 2017-18, when the import duty on Washington apple was 50 per cent, 1,27,908 metric tonnes of apple was imported from Washington to India. In the year 2018, import duty on apple was increased to 70 per cent. After this, the import of apples from Washington reduced to only 4,486 tonnes in the financial year 2022-23. That means after increasing the import duty from 50 to 70 percent, the import of apples reduced by 29 times. When it reduces to 15 per cent apple imports would increase manifold. This year, a large quantity of apples are being imported from Iran. This would affect the apples kept in cold stores in the coming days, Minister added.