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CONSTRUCTIONS, CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT LITCHI BUSINESS IN DOON

Friday, 22 June 2018 | Prerna Sharma/Paridhi Jain | Dehradun– Localities like Dalanwala in Dehradun were once famous for the fruit orchards but factors like increased construction with urbanisation, felling of fruit trees and changes in the climate have made selling fruits like litchis from the orchards of Dalanwala less of a profitable business for the seasonal vendors. Areas like Dalanwala were known since colonial times for the condition set by the authorities of maintaining fruit trees on a fixed area for construction of homes. Though constructions have increased drastically since those days, litchi trees are still a common sight in localities here including Lakshmi Road, Mohini Road, Curzon Road and other areas. These fruit trees also provide seasonal employment for a number of people who arrive here especially to tend to the litchis and sell them in the market. One such person, Natthu has been selling litchis plucked in the area for about 30 years now. Hailing from Muzaffarnagar in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, he usually taken over a litchi orchard in the locality on lease. Selling litchis plucked from the dozen trees growing in the orchard, he says that selling litchis is his main source of income during this time of the year. During the season he can earn up to Rs 1,200 a day selling litchis. However, this year the litchis this year have been spoiled a bit and the rains have also affected business, he added. Yograj from Saharanpur (UP) said that he looks after a litchi orchard with 26 trees in Dalanwala. He says that due to the weather, the business of selling litchis has not been profitable for him this year. Earlier it was his only source of income and used to fetch him decent profit but times have changed. The litchis get damaged by rain and the hot days after the rain further reduce their shelf life due to which the fruits hardly last a day after being plucked, he said. Though the profits were higher in this business years ago, the best litchis in Dehradun still grow in Dalanwala, he opined. Salman Khan, who also hails from Saharanpur sells litchis during this season apart from working as a gardener. He says that depending on the yield, he can earn up to Rs 6,000 a day selling litchis. Another vendor, Akshay Kashyap, who also hails from Saharanpur, has been selling litchis in the area for about 10 years now. He has taken an orchard with 26 litchi trees on lease for Rs 15,000. He says that he can earn up to Rs 5,000 on a good day selling litchis. All the vendors in the area state that though their business is still on, factors like decreased number of trees, increased constructions and change in the weather have decreased their profits.

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