Guntur, May 4: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today said the State Government and the agricultural marketing committee would bear the huge loss incurred due to the fire in the Asia's largest chilli market here.
Addressing farmers and traders after visiting the market yard, Dr Reddy said the Government would help the farmers by compensating the loss and would ensure that the peasants did not lose from their investments in chilli crop, after yesterday's fire in the market Eighty per cent of the chilli stock and almost the entire infrastructure in the market yard was destroyed in the inferno.
Preliminary estimates put the loss at Rs 85 crore, including a damage of Rs 55 crore to the infrastructure facilities.
The farmers and traders told Dr Reddy that they have lost their entire produce in the mishap and urged him to help them to the maximum extent possible. Dr Reddy lauded the district administration for their excellent work in containing the blaze.
Stating that the Government would hold responsiblity for the mishap, the Chief Minister said he would review the situation with officials to ascertain the exact loss of chilli gutted in the devastating fire. He also consoled the farmers who lost their chilli stock in the fire yssterday.
He said the mishap was not a 'big accident' and fortunately there was no human loss. 1.50 lakh chilli bags were gutted in the fire, he added.
Not satisfied with Dr Reddy's speech, the farmers, who assembled there, raised slogans against him after he left the venue. They also demanded him to come back to the market yard and justify their demands. The farmers also staged a dharna at Narasaraopet road in the city.
The fire fighters battled for almost 20 hours and doused the flames this morning, which started at 0930 hrs yesterday.
26 fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the fire under control. Meanwhile, State BJP President Bandaru Dattatreya visited the chilli market yard and consoled the farmers. The Government should own moral responsibility for the mishap, he said.