Pending cases pile up as govt turns a blind eye to their needs
Shimla | TNR
The state government’s tall claims on offering subsidies for farm and horticulture equipment have proved to be an eyewash.
Those into horticulture now feel cheated as the promised subsidy has not seen the light of the day even five to six years since the government’s proclamation.
Provisions made in budget speeches
Several provisions in this regard find a mention in budget speeches but those into horticulture are left in the lurch when it comes to allocation of funds and they have thus begun to strongly doubt the government’s intentions.
Despite the Himachal government’s claims that subsidies are being disbursed through its farm and horticulture department on anti-hail nets, poly houses/greenhouses, power tillers, tractors, drip irrigation equipment, etc, the fact remains that farm and orchard owners have not benefited from these to date.
3264 subsidy cases pending in two blocks alone
Himachal’s Theog and Narkanda blocks alone account for 3264 pending subsidy cases and orchard owners have had to make payments amounting to Rs 2127.27 lakhs for lack of subsidy. Some of the cases go as far back as 2014-15.
Debt-ridden orchard owners see no light at the end of the tunnel
In response to a written question by Theog MLA Rakesh Singha in the House, the government replied that there were pending cases due to budget scarcity.
In Theog alone, subsidies pending were Rs 198 lakhs on the grading and packing units, Rs 63.1 lakh on power spares, Rs 370 lakhs on power tillers, Rs 42.2 lakhs on bamboo structures and Rs 1144 lakhs on hail nets.
Totally, subsidy cases amounting to Rs 1818 lakhs are currently pending in Theog. Meanwhile, in Narkanda, pending subsidy cases for the same categories stands at Rs 309.25 lakhs.
As a stop-gap owners take bank loans
Orchard owners often take bank loans to buy equipment in the hope that these could be repaid when the government disburses subsidy amounts.
This, however, is not happening and they have no clue on how they could repay banks with the government showing no inclination to solve the issue.
Subsidy percentage had shot up from 50 to 80 per cent
Subsidies offered had stayed at 50 per cent for a few years in the past, until the erstwhile Congress government increased it to 80 per cent.
Though both the Congress as well as the present BJP government were praised for their magnanimous budget announcements, the ground reality is that all these came to naught as the orchard owners remained empty-handed when they really needed these subsidies badly.