KAKINADA: To discourage the use of carbide and other dangerous fruit-ripeners, the Government has set up three fruit ripening chambers or ethylene gas chambers in three market yards in East Godavari. These have been set up at the market yards in Rajamahendravaram, Tuni and Ravulapadu in Ravulapalem mandal. However, there seems to be problems galore dogging them and rendering them useless.
The three have been constructed at a cost of 1.20 crore and each one is of 20 tonne capacity. Currently the Rajamahendravaram chamber is being utilised. The other two are yet to be used. All the three chambers are located in famous mango markets, where people from nearby villages offload their peoduce. Though the mango season is in its last gasp, both Tuni and Ravulapalem chambers remain unused. At Ravulapdu, three-phase electrical supply connection is needed and at Tuni, the marketing staff have shown no interest in taking possession from the contractor.
Another major problem is that the chambers are grossly insuffient to meet the demand. For instance, between 15000 and 20000 bunches are off loaded at Ravulapadu market yard, but the chamber can ripen only 1000 bunches. Similar situation prevails in both Rajamahendravarama nd Tuni.
“When we are trying to use the facility, we find that the authorities are hardly interested in starting the chambers,” said B Venkanna, a banana farmer from Lolla near Ravulapalem.
The chambers need a temperature of 18 - 21 degrees Celsius. For this, uninterrupted power supply and back-up generators are needed. Sadly, they aren’t available as yet. “We are doing our best to make the Fruit Ripening Centers operational. We have conducted a trial run and found there are some problems. At Ravulapadu and Tuni, there are small problems like absence of three-phase connection. We are trying to sort them out. Very soon we will make them operational,” DE, Marketing, S MalleswarRao explained.