Shimla, Sep 11 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Sunday criticised the central government for not fulfilling its promise of hiking apple import duty that is hitting the state’s apple industry most.
Addressing party workers here, he said the apple industry accounts for more than six per cent of the state’s GDP and the rural economy of six districts is highly depending on it.
“Cheaper imports of apples from countries like China are denting their profits which are leading to many of horticulturalists shifting to other lucrative fruit crops,” he said.
“Apple growers had requested the Narendra Modi government to hike import duty on apples as they are facing stiff competition from China but the central government declined to hike the import duty,” he said, adding that the state’s apple industry, which accounts for around Rs 3,500 crore annually, is facing the brunt.
He urged the Modi-led BJP government at the Centre to hike import duty on apples after including the fruit in the Special Product category.
“Modi, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, had promised to work for the development of the state and said that he had special affection for the state as he had worked and knows all about the needs of the state.
“But after coming to power, he seems to have forgotten this promise as was the case of other promises like curbing unemployment and ending corruption,” Sukhu said.
The economy of the state is highly dependent on apples, besides hydropower and tourism.