Himachal finally pays the families of three people killed in an apple grower revolt after 30 years

The current Congress government, led by Sukhvinder Sukhu, announced a financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of three apple growers who subsequently passed away. This came after 33 years of an agitation by apple growers against the then BJP government that changed the political landscape in Himachal Pradesh.

In the mountainous state, which has been controlled by the two national parties alternately since 1980, the BJP was in power in 1990.

 

In 1990, the state’s chief minister, Shanta Kumar, was there.

 

 

Following the agitation, which apple farmers regarded as one of the toughest, the Congress party—led by the now-deceased Virbhadra Singh—won 60 of the state’s 68 assembly seats.

 

The two seats Kumar ran for were lost.

 

Chief Minister Sukhu also announced financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to the families of three orchardists — Govind Singh, Heera Singh, and Tara Chand — who died in the firing incident during the apple grower’s agitation in 1990, according to a statement on Thursday. This announcement came in addition to increased assistance for families affected by natural disasters.

 

On behalf of the government, the chief minister promised an investment of Rs. 8 lakh towards the preservation of their monument. Additionally, it said that each of the seven panchayats in Kotgarh, the state’s well-known apple region in the Shimla district, which was badly impacted by the monsoon rains, has received Rs 7 lakh.

 

The Chief Minister assessed the situation in the Kumarsain subdivision and was informed in detail about the losses, including the fact that 204 homes were only slightly impacted by the rains while 124 homes sustained total devastation.

 

According to the statement, Rs 55 lakh for the development block of Nankhari and Rs 49 lakh for the development block of Narkanda were provided within 12 hours of the Chief Minister’s instructions to speed up the repair work of roads and bridges.

 

Additionally, instructions were given in each of the five assembly districts of Chopal, Rohru, Rampur, Theog, and Kotkhai to work nonstop to repair the roads and bridges that had been damaged. The Public Works Department (PWD) was also given enough money—more than Rs 110 crore—to speed up the repair of the roads.

 

The market intervention strategy to determine the minimum price of the apple was established by the Virbhadra administration in 1990, shortly after taking office.

 

Only the Shimla district produces 80% of the state’s entire apple crop.

 

Over the last 50 years, Himachal Pradesh’s apple production has provided wealth to the growers since more than 90% of the output is sold on the local market.

 

On November 6, 1916, the first apple orchard in the state was established at Kotgarh, Thanedar Panchayat, around 85 kilometers from Shimla. This helped Kotgarh advance economically and socially and also helped to establish its place on the map of the world.

 

Samuel Evans Stokes (later known as Satyanand Stokes), an American missionary who first introduced the premium apples in the mid-altitude hills, is credited with starting the state’s apple boom.

 

Since then, the hill state has been associated with apples, which account for 89% of the state’s 5,000 crore fruit business.