iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Amritsar, June 12, 2012
A devastating fire broke out at the Khanna Paper Mills, one of the leading paper manufacturers of the country, on the Amritsar bypass on Tuesday.
The fire that started at about 2: 00 pm from the waste stock yard of the Mills picked up briskly, bringing the mills owners as well as the district administration on toes.

The fire was so intense that till the filing of this report 50 fire tenders were called in and even army personnel were rushed to the spot, but still the flames were rising dangerously.

There was about 60 to 70 thousand tonnes of waste paper lying in the mills that caught fire and the estimated loss could run in several crores.

As the fire spread due to strong winds blowing, the district administration led by Amritsar DC Rajat Aggarwal was personally monitoring the operation.

Fire tenders from the Airport, Batala, Beas, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur were called in to battle the fire.

By the evening the fire had spread in the rare side where there were residential accommodations. And to avoid any human loss, the administration was planning to get the houses vacated.

Since the heaps of paper were burning and fire going deep inside, it was tough for the administration to fully extinguish.

Even though, the operation to bring things under control was on since five hours but it is learnt that it may take two days to fully make things normal.

Talking to HT, Director of the Khanna Paper Mills, Suneet Kochhar said, "We don't know the reasons but it was panic after the waste paper lying in the stock yard caught fire. It spread at such a pace that within minutes it was all over."

The main plant of the mill was safe but we are trying to keep the fire away from the residential area behind. The district administration was fully active and apart from army it also arranged 50 fire tenders to bring fire under control, said Kochhar.

On loss, the Director said, "We cannot tell in monetary aspect but there was about 70,000 tonnes of paper that got burnt."

The Khanna Paper supplies newsprint to some of the major newspapers of the region and recently newsprint from here was also exported to Pakistan.

When the fire broke out, the smoke was seen several kilometers away from the mill.