HPMC employees press for merger with HPM department
Say fusion will not hit interests of department
Srinagar, June 14: The employees of J&K Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) have supported its proposed merger with Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department (for short department), saying the fusion won’t jeopardize the service career of the employees in the department, as has been apprehended by the latter.
“The HPMC is the sister concern of the department and the merger has been conceived only after taking into account all its pros and cons,” the employees of HPMC said.
The employees said the government had constituted a high level core committee to study the condition of the moribund public sector units in the state and give its recommendations.
“The core committee consisted top economists and industrial experts was headed by Khurshid Ahmad Ganie Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.”
There are three different state agencies working in the horticulture sector namely: Horticulture Department, Horticulture Planning & Marketing Department and JKHPMC. “The committee after in its depth study on the role the JKHPMC plays in the promotion of the horticulture, and due deliberations with stakeholders recommended the merger of the HPMC with the department,” they added.
Members of JKHPMC Employees’ Union said the committee termed the HPMC as a strategic agency in the horticulture sector and on the basis of the identical objectives of the department and the HPMC recommended to the government for the merger of the two.
The committee further maintained that horticulture made a good contribution to the economy of the state and therefore the two agencies need to be merged to form one vibrant organization.
The committee recorded that by merger the cumulative expertise, infrastructure and the network in the two agencies would be utilized for the accelerated development of the fruit industry in the state.
The union members said after the turmoil the corporation was in dire need of government support but was not able to get it at the proper time. “This led to the great damage to our corporation and the employees are not getting regular salaries. Hence the merger would solve our problem,” they said.
“After the new government took over last year, a meeting of the Board of Directors of the corporation was held and the revival plan was discussed. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary of Agriculture Production Department. The Financial Commissioner Finance and Planning Commissioner were also present in the meeting to see the modalities of the merger. They are still working on the plan of merger,” they added.
In support of merger
Maintaining that mergers and acquisitions had become a global phenomena in the present industrial scenario, the union members said such steps are taken everywhere for economic development. “This shall not be the first merger taking place in the Valley. We used to have government owned Milk Federations here which was merged with Animal Husbandry Department. Few people in Horticulture Planning and Marketing Department are opposing this merger because of their personal interests. But the two agencies belong to the public and the government should run them the way they serve the interests of the public,” they said.
“The merger is a genuine effort by the government to revitalize the horticulture sector in the state. The merger plan is itself taking care of the service interests of the employees of both the agencies,” they added.
They said that the merger of Milk federation with Animal husbandry Department was based on the condition that the staff of Milk Federation will figure at the bottom in the departmental seniority list. “Similarly we have pleaded that without disturbing the seniority of P&M Department we should be placed at the bottom of the seniority list. Our functions will be totally separate. We assure that the basic condition is that we will not disturb their seniority or service avenues. We just want the regularity of our salaries,” they added.
Describing the merger as a rightly conceived decision the union member said that it should not be opposed. “It is about the future of 400 employees of HPMC who are facing tremendous problems because of the weak health of the corporation. We are not even getting the salaries regularly,” they said.
According to the union members the development and existence of the corporation was very important for the fruit growers who fall in the small and marginal farmers’ category. “They need institutional support to sustain themselves. Also the pressure to sell fruit at an inopportune time in the absence of cold storage facility is one of the grave problems of small farmers where JKHPMC can play a vital role,” they said.
“We have worked for the marginal farmer and have prevented their exploitation at the hands of middle men. We give crop loans to the farmers and also used to give them market support. We also introduced the concept of latest packing material to them. We had grading, packing and cold storage centers for the farmers but unfortunately because of the turmoil our infrastructure was worst hit. Almost all of the infrastructure was either gutted or is occupied by the security forces,” they added.
They said the corporation was providing institutional support to small farmers by providing them refrigerated vans for transporting cherry to Mumbai market which fetches good money to growers. “So it is important that the corporation should exist though in a restructured form,” they added.
In state’s interest
Demanding immediate merger of the two agencies the union members said the merger would be a step towards uplift of the horticulture industry in the state.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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