Rajasthan has asked the Centre to help it in rebuilding the Sitapura Industrial Area here devastated by the mammoth fire in the Indian Oil Corporation depot in the last week of October. The fire that raged for about a week and led to the death of 11 people has rendered the vast industrial area, once a flourishing industrial hub near the State capital, non-functional.

The Sitapura Industrial Area has over 1,300 units. “We have requested the Centre to provide relief to the industrial units which suffered extensive damage so that they can come up once again in this difficult time of recession. We also expect assistance from the Centre and the Indian Oil Corporation in rebuilding the offices and premises of the industrial units,” says Rajasthan Industries Minister Rajendra Pareek.

“The Central authorities should support the reconstruction work here in the similar way rehabilitation was carried out in Bhuj in Gujarat after the earthquake,” he adds.

Mr. Pareek, who had made a similar demand during the meeting of the State Industry Ministers in Delhi three days ago, says the Centre should also initiate steps to exempt the units from income tax and excise duties for the next three years so that they can overcome the losses incurred in the fire. Apart from the damages in the fire the units have had to suffer financial losses due to non-production after continuous shutdown, he points out.

The extent of damage to the units is yet to be officially made known as a committee, appointed by the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RRICO) is yet to complete its assessment. According to sources in RIICO, a few more units are to be covered before the committee completes the survey by November 24.

In the wake of the fire the IOC has announced a package of Rs.55 crore for the Sitapura Industrial Area though the local authorities are yet to decide on distribution of the amount among those who incurred the losses.

RIICO has announced exemption of Sitapura units from service tax for the next three years. They will also not be charged for fire services in the next two years. Another State enterprise, Rajasthan Financial Corporation, has announced a 0.5 per cent rebate on interest in re-payment of loans given to the units under “Saral” scheme. In the case of loans up to Rs.10 lakh, RFC has decided on a rebate of 1 per cent in interest.