Maharaj Gunj fire costs Rs 25 cr to affected businessmen
Srinagar, Mar 6: The fire that broke out at the historic Maharaj Gunj market here during the night intervening March 4-5 has cost a whopping Rs 25 crore to the traders.
President Beopar Mandal, S R Gunj, Haji Assadullah Mir told Greater Kashmir that overall 20 shops and 40 godowns were gutted. “Each shop was three-storeyed with godowns in the upper storey, he said.
He said a section of press on Saturday had reported that the market had suffered an overall loss of Rs 6 crore. “That much of loss must have been suffered by only a couple of traders in the market.”
“We have roughly estimated a loss of Rs 25 crore that the traders have suffered. It can be even more,” he said.
According to the Beopar Mandal, the fire had broken out due to short-circuit.
Many traders blamed Power Development Department for the incident. “The electric wires here are decades old, so such short-circuits are quite obvious,” they said.
To recall, this is the second incident of its kind during less than three years. Last time it was in 2007 when fire consumed several shops in this market.
Beopar Mandal blamed authorities for high quantum of loss in the fire incidents in the vicinity. “The main cause for huge loss is the curve near Budshah tomb leading to Saraf Kadal. For past many years we have been pleading before the government to go for road widening there and get the curve removed, but to no avail,” Mir said.
“Had the road been widened, the fire would not have spread to so many shops at a massive pace,” he said.
He said after fire broke out in 2007, the then PDP-Congress led government had promised to give a face-lift to Maharaj Gunj and build Mubarak Mandi, “but again nothing has been done.”
He said they had also asked the government to do road widening from Mirwaiz Manzil, Rajouri Kadal to Wazpora.
Traders said although fire and emergency station was very much in the market, the narrow lanes make the movement of the fire tenders highly impossible.
“Besides, the fire brigade vehicle is also outdated with little water capacity. We have been demanding a new vehicle for very long now,” said Habib-ul-llah, a trader.
The fire has caused severe losses to certain shops including Tirath Ram and Company, which is over 150 year-old-firm.
Vinod Malhotra, proprietor of the firm, said four of their shops and 12 godowns had been gutted.
“We are totally ruined. Nothing at all is left there,” he said.
He, however, said it was difficult to estimate the real quantum of loss they have suffered.
He said the fire brigade of the area had reached the spot, but others took time due to narrowness of the lanes near Saraf Kadal. “We don’t blame anyone; it’s destiny,” he added.
Another sufferer, Gurcharan Singh, proprietor M/s Sant Singh Gurcharan Singh, said although they could not estimate the exact loss they have suffered, “but it must be around Rs 10 to 15 lakh.”
“Since this market is very old, the shops here are made of wood, hence more chances of catching fire. The government should help the traders here in whatever way it can,” he said.
Muhammad Yousuf Mir at Jay Kay Sales Enterprises said they have suffered a loss of Rs 10 lakh. One of their stories is badly affected, he said.
Tracing the history of Maharaj Gunj, Mir said this was the oldest market of the city, put into existence by Maharja Ranbir Singh in 1817. “From this market, goods reach every nook and corner of the Valley. But unfortunately, this market has been neglected by the authorities,” he said.
As per Beopar Mandal, some other shops affected in the fire incident include M/s Haji Muhammad Yaseen Wani and Company, M/s Jogindar Paul Singh, M/s Habibullah Shangloo, M/s Noor Muhammad and Company, M/s Hira Lal Mehra, M/s Bashir Ahmad Gujoo and M/s Noor Muhammad Abdul Gaffar.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 6 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 6 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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Srinagar, Mar 6: The fire that broke out at the historic Maharaj Gunj market here during the night intervening March 4-5 has cost a whopping Rs 25 crore to the traders. President Beopar Mandal, S More