New Delhi: Over 80 shops have been damaged in a fire incident in Chandni Chowk and shopkeepers have incurred losses in crores, traders claimed on Monday.
They also accused the authorities of not taking corrective measures to resolve the persisting infrastructural problems, which cause frequent fires in the area.
The top floor of a three-storey commercial building in central Delhi’s busiest and congested market lanes near Chandni Chowk metro station collapsed inward on Monday following the massive fire on Sunday night, officials said, adding that an adjacent building was also damaged in the incident. No casualty has been reported so far.
Bhagwan Bansal, General Secretary of Delhi Hindustani Mercantile Association, said the fire was triggered by a short circuit in a building and spread to nearby buildings.
The fire spread three buildings in one lane and three more buildings in the next lane. Over 80 shops have been affected by the fire and traders have suffered losses of over several crores, he said.
Bansal said narrow lanes and shuttered shops were responsible for the delay in dousing the fire.
“Three buildings in one lane in Chandni Chowk’s Kutcha Natwa and three buildings in another lane have been affected. The buildings are tall and shops are shuttered down so it took the fire department several hours to douse it, he added.
The traders have demanded compensation from the government for the losses they have incurred.
“The government should compensate the shopkeepers for the losses they have incurred,” a trader said.
“We have written to the Delhi government a lot of times to take corrective measures in the market but no action has been taken so far. Fire erupts every five to six months. There is mesh of hanging wires everywhere and no fire warning system has been installed,” the trader added.
After over 11 hours, the fire was brought under control, while the cooling operations are still underway, officials said.
During the rescue operation, the firefighters had to operate from the adjacent building as a massive fire had broken out and all the doors and windows were completely closed and there was no space to move inside, they said.
The building comprised combustible materials, mostly clothes stuffed inside the godowns and shops, he said.
Atul Garg, director, Delhi Fire Service said a call about the fire was received around 10.40 pm on Sunday. PTI