Udupi, April 02, 2020: The Udupi administration has given its nod to lift and transport watermelons, pineapples, papaya and Mattu Gulla after growers in the district complained that their produce will go waste and start rotting due to the lockdown on account of COVID-19. Watermelon is being cultivated in 25 hectares in the district and its production is 1,000 tonnes, while pineapple is cultivated in 150 hectares and its production is estimated at 9,732 tonnes. Papaya is grown in 22 hectares of land and its production is estimated at 1,551 tonnes.
Due to the lockdown, it has been difficult for growers to transport their produce to other districts and States. Assistant Director of Horticulture Guruprasad said that the administration has decided to give seven passes for vehicles so that growers and merchants can transport their produce.
Accordingly, arrangements have been made to transport six tonnes of Mattu Gulla to different parts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts and 82 tonnes of watermelons to Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Dharwad districts. While 13 tonnes of pineapple will be transported to Dakshina Kannada and Shivamogga, 10 tonnes of papaya will go to Uttara Kannada.
Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha said that the administration has already held a meeting with wholesale fruit merchants registered with the Agriculture Marketing Produce Committee (APMC). It has directed these merchants to purchase 35 tonnes of pineapples, 55 tonnes of watermelons and 5,000 bunches of bananas from growers and sell them within the district and also send them to other districts. Such transportation has been exempted from prohibitory orders, he said.