Andhra chief minister promises relief to chilli farmers

May 4th, 2008 - 7:29 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 4 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Sunday visited Guntur mirchi yard, Asia’s largest red chilli market which was destroyed in a major fire Saturday. He promised to help all farmers who lost their produce in the fire, and announced that fire engines would be deployed at all major markets in the state.

The fire, which broke out Saturday morning, was brought under control late last night. It destroyed over 200,000 bags of red chillies, each of 40 kilograms, and 450 shops of commission agents.

Accompanied by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah and other cabinet colleagues, the chief minister - better known by his initials YSR - went around the devastated market yard. Smoke was still billowing from he debris of few shops.

“We will ensure that not a single farmer suffers loss of even one rupee,” the chief minister said.

However, a section of farmers was not satisfied and said the chief minister failed to give a concrete assurance on compensation. After YSR’s visit, they staged a sit-in in the area, demanding immediate compensation.

The police said the fire broke out due to short circuit after a truck hit an electric pole within the market yard. According to preliminary estimates, property worth Rs.1 billion ($25 million) was lost in the fire.

No loss of life was reported in the fire, which destroyed the entire market spread over 56 acres.

The market receives dry, red chillies from different parts of the state and neighbouring states. Chillies worth Rs.10 billion are traded every year at the market, which also serves as a hub for chillies exports.

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