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7,000 tonne groundnut gutted

Peanut Market News February 01, 2018

7,000 tonne groundnut gutted

Nearly 7,000 tonne of groundnuts worth over Rs 31.5 crore was gutted after a massive fire engulfed a godown in Umvada village of Gondal in Rajkot on Tuesday afternoon.

The godown was rented by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) to store groundnuts that it had procured from farmers at minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 900 per 20kg.

Sources at the Rajkot district administration suspect that groundnut stored in the godown was procured from Nafed-run centres that had come under the scanner following complaints of irregularities.

Nearly half-a-dozen procurement centres in Saurashtra region were closed last month after Nafed received complaint of malpractice by traders in procurement and dumping of substandard stock was found during a raid. The officials had also found stone and soil in some of the groundnut bags. There were huge protests against government's decision to close down the procurement centres by farmers who had also made representations to government officials to keep them open.

Rajkot collector Vikrant Pandey has ordered a Gondal sub-divisional magistrate to probe into the fire accident and also sought help of forensic science experts to ascertain the exact cause of fire.

As many as 10 firefighters from Rajkot, Dhoraji, Gondal, Jasdan and Jetpur were rushed to Umvada Crossroads on Rajkot-Junagadh highway where the godown is located. Gondal fire officer Ravi Vyas said that they had received a call from one of the security guards at the godown around 4.38pm saying that fire had erupted at the back of the godown. The godown was a cotton ginning mill rented by the Nafed to store groundnut procured from farmers.

Earlier, over 62,000 bags (35kg each) worth over Rs 10 crore was gutted in fire in a warehouse at Gandhidham in Kutch early this month. Preliminary probe indicated that the groundnut was from Maharashtra and it was allegedly sold at MSP in Rajkot to Nafed-authorized procurement centres. A probe was ordered into the fire accident by the Kutch district magistrate.

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