More than 50 shops were gutted after a massive fire broke out at Kamla Market near New Delhi Railway Station late on Monday. No casualties were reported, said the Delhi Fire Service.
At around 12.30 a.m. a BSES wire sparked leading to a fire in a shop. “A few electricity meters which were installed in every shop sparked due to which a fire broke out in shop number 101.
Within no time more than 15 shops caught fire. The fire department was informed immediately but only one fire tender reached around 1.30 a.m. By then the fire had spread across the market and more than 50 shops caught fire,” said Anil, 27, an eyewitness.
Fire Department said they received a PCR call around 12.50 p.m. and more than 25 fire tenders were deployed at the spot. After a few hours the fire was doused.
Pradeep Bhatia, president of Kamla Market Welfare Association, told The Statesman: “This unfortunate incident occurred due to power fluctuation by BSES. They have fixed wires but yesterday high voltage was released due to which spark happened. The market suffered a loss of more than 1 crore. About 20 shops have turned into ashes and in total 60 shops were gutted due to the fire.”
He added, “Kamla Market is one of the oldest markets in Delhi. But since the fire broke out none of the local politicians and officials have visited us. If the fire had broken out at a slum then a lot of concern and compensation would have been shown from everyone.”
Bhatia wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the area MLA, DCP Mandeep Singh Randhawa and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari urging them to show some concern for the traders in the market and give them “compensation”. He said, “More than a thousand families depend on the market. With this incident about 300 families will be affected. They lost their products, shops and only source of income.”
Many traders in the market raised questions on the efficiency and accountability of the Fire Department. “If Fire Department would have responded on time the loss would have been less.
After 45 minutes one fire tender reached the spot. We kept on making calls but they kept on saying ‘we have deployed’ and ‘tenders are on their way.’ This is really unfortunate. Kamla Market is so close to the New Delhi railway station and also to Connaught Place where Delhi Fire Service headquarters is situated. But still they took so much time and did not send enough fire tenders,” said Amit Jaiswal, a 35-year-old trader.