The Centre has decided to buy apples from Jammu and Kashmir directly from the growers under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme that provides subsidies to the bank accounts of the sellers, News18 reported on Tuesday. The announcement came days after Home Minister Amit Shah met apple growers from Kashmir who voiced concerns about suffering losses due to restrictions in the region.

“Apple to be procured from growers/aggregators at fruit mandis, including Sopore, Parimpora, Shopian and Batengo,” the Directorate of Information and Public Relations, Jammu and Kashmir, tweeted on Monday. Special market intervention price scheme for procurement of Apple in Jammu and Kashmir; 12 lakh Metric Tonnes of apple to be procured.”

The apple procurement for this season would be completed by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd or NAFED by December 15, and the apple growers would receive money in their bank accounts.

The federation will procure the apples through designated state government agencies, according to a NAFED notice. All categories of apples will be procured from the districts where they are grown along with designated markets, according to Business Today.

The prices would be fixed by the price committee that will also include a member from the National Horticulture Board as fair prices for the varied categories would be charged. A quality committee would be responsible for ensuring that the apples are graded properly.

The chief secretary will preside over the implementation and coordination committee at the state-level. “Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs and other Central agencies will oversee smooth implementation of the Scheme,” the notification said.

Last week, apple growers met Shah along with panchayat members from the state, according to The Indian Express. The home minister was informed about the problems they were facing in selling their produce due to restrictions imposed since the Centre’s August 5 order, revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Prohibitory orders in the state are still in place in certain areas and were being removed gradually.

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