ANDHRA PRADESH

State to pay Rs. 1,200 a bag for chilli farmers

HYDERABAD: The State Government has announced compensation of Rs. 1,200 a tikky (bag of 40 kg) for 95,000 tikkies of chilli that were not purchased from farmers by traders in the Guntur chilli market yard that witnessed a major fire accident a few days ago.

It has asked the traders to pay the pending dues for the 1.5 lakh bags of chillies they procured from the farmers. It had expressed willingness to help the traders in obtaining loans for making payments to farmers.

This was decided at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy after the committee of officials that inquired into the incident submitted its report and the Group of Ministers headed by K. Rosaiah made its recommendations.

The inquiry put the total loss due to the fire mishap at Rs. 56 crore including Rs. 27 crore of chillies that was completely gutted.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Rosaiah said the Government had decided to pay Rs. 1,200 a bag, amounting to about Rs. 3,000 a quintal, irrespective of the quality of the chilli. Loss of property of the market yard was put at Rs. 7 crore while the traders lost structures worth an estimated Rs. 7 crore.

Of the total extent of chillies gutted in the fire, 377 commission agents secured insurance cover to an extent of Rs. 6 crore. It was decided to pay compensation of Rs. 1,000 per head to the 5,000 hamalis and other workers who lost their employment on account of the fire.

It was decided to shift the market from the existing location by acquiring more land, even if it was a bit away from the city, where another market with all facilities would be constructed. The existing land would be utilised for terminal market selling perishables like fruits, vegetables and meat.

Mr. Rosaiah ruled out the possibility of sabotage claiming that the evidence on the ground indicated that the fire was due to short circuit.

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