28 March, 2018
Narwal mandi, jammu, have been requesting the Government as well as Horticulture Department to start a atmosphere storage facility, so that the vendors can export the apples, but their demand has not been met. Even after giving assurance to the fruit and vegetable vendors there is no sign of initiative by the Government and the Horticulture Department.
Rajinder Gupta, president, Vegetable and Fruit Mandi Association, Narwal said, “In summer, fruits shrink due to high temperature and their quality gets weaker, that leads to low prices. If fruits like apple and apricot are preserved under controlled atmosphere, we can obtain good prices.”
Some of the essential varieties of apples grown in Kashmir valley are ambri, delicious, American teral, maharaji, piazratbali, kesari and royal misri, while nearly 500 varieties of mango, each with atypical taste and flavour, are found in the Jammu, which is supplied to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
“We had two plots at the Narwal mandi, which were suitable for establishing the controlled atmosphere storage facility and we approached the Horticulture Department many times in this regard, but to no avail,” Rajesh Gupta, added.
He also said since the project involved finances up to Rs 10 to 15 crore, the department was offered to take up its establishment in public private partnerships (PPP), but without any success.
Denying the claim, SK Fotedar, Deputy Director, Planning and Marketing, Horticulture Department, said there was a scarcity of land in the area, as many shops needed to be accommodated in the Narwal mandi.
Deputy Director, said, “The controlled atmosphere storage is impossible in the present scenario”. He, however, maintained that nearly 250-300 kanals under the Forest Department occupation were lying vacant contiguous to the mandi and if that land was acquired, the storage system could be established there.