GPS-enabled vehicles mandatory for inter-state apple transport, KYC to be checked: Police
As per police data, about 100 vehicles carrying apples were stolen, and over 500 cases of cheating, forgery and non-payment of dues were registered in the past three years in Shimla district
Only GPS-enabled vehicles will be registered for the inter-state transportation of apples and KYCs of dubious merchants would be scrutinised, police officials in Shimla said on Wednesday.
As per police data, about 100 vehicles carrying apples were stolen, and over 500 cases of cheating, forgery and non-payment of dues were registered in the past three years in Shimla district.
"To curb such instances, only GPS-enabled vehicles will be registered for the inter-state transportation in Shimla district and the police will keep access of these GPS devices," SP Shimla Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI. This will help in tracing stolen vehicles and vehicles diverted from their expected routes, he said.
Himachal Pradesh has a Rs 5,000 crore economy related to apple production and sales, and the peak season for the fruit begins in mid-July and lasts till October-end. Some varieties start hitting the market by June-end, while apples from higher reaches and tribal areas continues till October-end.
The SP said meetings with growers, middlemen and transporters were held to communicate the plan, which will be in place between July 15 and October 15, to streamline apple transport. The data of dubious merchants with shady past, involvement in cheating, forgery, non-payment and cheque bounce cases has also been prepared, he said.
The KYCs (Know Your Client) of the loaders or buyers with dubious history of cheating apple growers and middlemen will be scrutinised in the police control rooms, Gandhi said.
Police will install checkpoints and control rooms on all entry points of the state with the main control room located at Fagu. Merchants with a dubious history would be reported to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), apple growers and the middlemen so that they could take preventive steps, the SP added.
Last year, 70 persons were killed in 130 accidents during the apple season. In view of this, special efforts would be made to mitigate road accidents and strict action would be taken against drunk drivers, overloaded vehicles and over speeding drivers, the SP said. Last year approximately 45,000 vehicles were used to transport about 3.40 crore boxes of apples.
Police said routes, bottlenecks and accident prone areas have also been identified. Signages will be placed on spots that have a history of fatal accidents. Machines like JCBs, cranes and hydraulic machines will be placed at specific points on the routes and highway patrols will be deputed to clear traffic congestion, police said.
Meanwhile, Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi directed state government officials to repair all roads used by apple producers and traders.
Reviewing preparations for the apple season, Negi said that parking, drinking water, toilets, electricity and other facilities will be provided in the apple markets at different places of the state for the convenience of orchardists, commissioned agents and other stakeholders associated with the apple business.