Officials of the Revenue, Police, Marketing and Fire Departments and SPDCL will make joint inspection of fire and electrical fitness of cold storages from May 4 and take penal action, which may include cancellation of licences, for failure to conform to safety standards.

The banks and other departments concerned will release loans/subsidies to the cold storages only after the necessary clearances are given afresh.

Besides, the heads of respective departments have been authorised to launch prosecution on their own while reporting the violations to the Collector and the Superintendent of Police.

The decisions were taken at a meeting convened by in-charge Collector A. Sarath on Friday to take stock of the fire and other measures in cold storages in the wake of two major fire accidents at Ankireddipalem in a span of ten days.

Officials warned

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Sarath expressed regret that farmers suffered an estimated loss of Rs. 40 crore in the two incidents due to sheer negligence of the officials concerned. He warned the officials against passing the buck to one another in the event of another incident.

“The owners/partners of cold storages, who neglect the safety of the agricultural produce stored by farmers, are worse than criminals as their actions shatter the lives of thousands of farmers,” he said.

Superintendent of Police A. Ravichandra said it was a shame that short circuits were cited as the causes of fire when technologies were advanced nowadays. No excuses would be entertained if another incident takes place in future, he asserted.

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