26.11.2022: No apple grower availed GST reimbursement: Himachal Pradesh horticulture director

No apple grower in Himachal Pradesh has availed the 6% GST reimbursement announced on apple packaging material. The Centre had announced to increase the GST on cartons and trays from 12% to 18% this year, which was opposed by the apple growers.

It was after over a month-long protest that the Jai Ram Thakur-led government had announced to reimburse 6% GST amount spent by the farmers on cartons and trays, subject to certain conditions.

The HP Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC), a government undertaking, was supposed to reimburse the amount to the orchardists after verification of the applications by the horticulture department. However, not a single fruit grower applied for reimbursement even as cartons worth 4.25 crore were sold this year.

Director (horticulture) Sudesh Kumar Mokhta also confirmed that no fruit grower applied for the reimbursement.

Meanwhile, orchardists have been blaming the government and system for not being able to apply for GST reimbursement. Samyukta Kisan Manch co-convener and former Shimla mayor Sanjay Chauhan said the fruit growers had asked the government to provide cartons in the market with 6% GST exemption. “The conditions on the GST reimbursement norms were impractical,” he added.

Mahender Verma, president of Apple Producers’ Association, Theog, said during the peak season, growers remain busy. “The government imposed such conditions for GST reimbursement, which were not possible to fulfil,” he added.

Fruit grower Sanjeev Verma alleged that most of the carton vendors did not present the purchase bills to the farmers.“In such a situation, it was not possible to apply for GST reimbursement. The apple industry is already facing rising input cost. If the government is concerned about the fruit growers, it should make packaging material GST-free next season,” he added.

After the hike in GST, prices of trays had increased from 150 to 300 per bundle and 12 to 20 per piece of carton.

Source: The Hindustan Times 

Register Today