Licence row in chilli yard of Guntur

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Yard committee conducts inquiry into licences given to traders.

GUNTUR: Asia’s biggest chili market which saw the spurious chilli powder scam in the recent past is now caught in another controversy of licences scam.

The chilli yard’s new governing body is planning to cancel licences which were issued in the past claiming them as illegal, further creating a lot of worries among the chilli traders. Two years ago, 85 new licences were issued by the officials in addition to the existing 685 licences and now these licences became controversial as the marketing department decided to cancel them.

Guntur chilli yard was the first chilli market in AP and Asia’s biggest chilli yard. Later, the market started trading cotton, paddy and pulses, but chilli is the main trading commodity. Licences are a must to do chilli import and export business in the chilli yard. According to reports, the traders have to renew their licences periodically, but 293 trad-ers are doing business without renewing the lice-nces out of the total 685.

The Telugu Desam government appointed new governing body to chilli yard with M. Subba Rao as chairman and other TD leaders as committee members a few months ago. The governing body members decided to conduct an inquiry about 85 licences which were issued last year claiming them to be illegal.

They are claiming that one licence would be issued for one trading firm, but family member and partners got separate licences, which is against the norms. As per the guidelines of the yard, there is no provision to take separate licences by partners in the firm.

They would not allow operating another firm on the premises. The governing body members requested the marketing officials for inquiry. After receiving representation commissioner order to conduct an inquiry, a committee was formed.

Chilli Traders Association president K. Sambi Reddy said that the government is allowing wife and husband to do government jobs. Then the same yard stick should beapplieded to chilli business by giving licences to couples, family members and partners.

Mirchi yard chairman Mannava Subba Rao said after assuming charge, he came to know about taking licences illegally in the names of family members and decided to conduct an inquiry about those licences.

New chilli yard at Durgi
The Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool and adjacent districts are producing chilli and they have to reach chilli yard at Guntur for trading. The chilli growers of Palnadu and adjacent areas were demanding starting of a second chilli yard at Durgi for the past 10 years and now their wishes are going to be fulfilled as the government agreed for another chilli yard at Durgi.

The then chief minister, Konijeti Rosaiah laid foundation stone for the chilli yard in the year 2010 in Durgi and later sanctioned Rs 16 crore funds in 90 acres of land. But the government never started the works. Chilli is cultivated in 40,000 hectares in the Palnadu area and it is giving Rs 7 crore to Rs 10 crore market cess as revenue to the government per year.

The chilli growers of Macharla, Veldurthi, Dur-gi, Karampudi, Renta-chintala, Gurazala, Pdigu-ralla, Machavaram and Dachepalli mandals of Palnadu region are facing difficulties to transport chilli produce to Guntur chilli yard situated at a distance of 100 km .

Chilli growers of Macharla, B. Mallaiah and others said that they would be able to reduce transport expences and sought starting construction works with the available funds. Narasaraopeta MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao said that on December 26, foundation was laid to Durgi chilli yard by minister for agriculture P. Pulla Rao. The chilli yard would come up in 20 acres and construction works will be started as early as possible.

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