DOOARS FIRE DISASTER: Fire devours garment market

DOOARS FIRE DISASTER: Fire devours garment market – a tinderbox situation without relief ?!!

5 garment shops razed in Dooars - when will they ever learn ?!! (Darpan)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Alipurduar, Aug. 2: At least 20 garment shops were completely burnt to ashes in a fire suspected to have been triggered by a short circuit at Dhupguri last night with traders pegging the loss at Rs 1 crore.

Although the fire brigade arrived on time, congestion and a lack of proper road and waterbody stood in the way, as did the temporary wiring.

At 10.15pm, the blaze started from the shop of Sudipto Basak, a garments wholesaler in Kapar Patty, 55km from here. Nine back-to-back garment shops were quick to catch on, and within an hour they were flattened to the ground. The other 11 shops were badly burnt though some goods could be retrieved.

“Only the bare structures of these shops stand. The fire spread fast because of temporary electrical wiring. The fire engines could not enter since the leading to the wholesale market is narrow. The firemen had to spray water from afar,” said a witness.

Traders inspect their burnt shops on Monday - lessons learnt, losses borne: any precautions now ?!! (Biplab Basak)

It took the two fire engines two hours to put the blaze out completely. Some time was consumed when the fire engines had to back out of the narrow lane to the Kurmai river, 60 metres away, and fill up the tanks. The water pipe crossing NH31C stalled traffic for two hours.

The retail and wholesale traders said they had started stocking up for the pujas. Shopkeepers from Assam also buy goods from the traders of Dhupguri, a wholesale hub for garments in an otherwise nondescript block.

Amalesh Barua, the officer in charge of the Dhupguri fire station, said: “The road to the market is so congested that our vehicles could not reach close enough to the fire that probably started from a short circuit. From a distance, we sprayed water. After the water in the tanks finished, we had to go to the Kurmai to fill them up. We brought the blaze under control a little after midnight. In the market there is no fire fighting arrangements like a reservoir, not even an extinguisher. We had written to the market committee as well as the municipality to de-congest the area, but nothing was done.”

Raju Ghosh, the secretary of Dhupguri Byabsayee Samiti, said the administration should start an inquiry into the cause of fire. “The total loss is not less than Rs 1 crore. We demand the administration should start a proper inquiry to ascertain the loss and arrange a compensation at the earliest.”

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