Chilli farmers’ protests against “inordinate delay” in payment of compensation for the crop destroyed by fire in three cold storages took a turn when they locked the National Insurance Company’s (NIC) divisional and branch offices in Guntur, Chilakaluripet, and Narasaraopet on Thursday.

The irate farmers raised slogans against what they called the “indifferent attitude” of the NIC’s Chairman and Managing Director, whom they accused of absolving himself of the responsibility to settle the claim.

The JAC is preparing to initiate criminal proceedings against the National Insurance Company for allegedly cheating them.