Two days after one of the biggest waste segregation facilities at the Mundka scrap market was gutted by a massive fire, the west Delhi market re-lived its horror yet again on Wednesday.
This time, two adjacent plastic waste storage yards on Phirni road were destroyed by a massive blaze in the wee hours of the morning -- just half a kilometer from Sunday's inferno.
According to Delhi Fire Services (DFS) officials, the incident took place around 4 am on Wednesday morning and 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to contain it.
"Though we were able to bring the fire under control around 7:35 am, cooling procedures took around ten more hours," said a senior DFS official on condition of anonymity.
Officials said the inferno consumed close to 4100 sq metres within minutes.
"Owing to the high velocity of wind and the flammability of the waste material, the fire almost spread across two massive plots in a matter of 15 minutes," the official said.
The blaze began at the northernmost part of one plot, grew stronger as it consumed flammable plastic material and then engulfed the adjoining plot - baking the thin, single-brick wall between them and reducing thick iron girders on the other side to molten metal.
Parvinder Pal Chopra (61) and Vijay Kedia (40) - owners of the two neighbouring plots gutted by the blaze -- claimed sabotage as they prodded the smouldering remains of their property with wooden sticks.
"My watchman saw a biker torch the base of a large heap of waste before he sped away around 2 am," alleged Chopra who has been a part of the market since it was relocated to Mundka from Jwalapuri in 1995. "Thank God, I had sold most of the waste on Monday morning."
Agreed Kedia. "How is it that such incidents are taking place in adjacent areas and that too one after the other?... The attacks are a clear warning asking us to leave."
Others like Prabhu Kumar (38), a waste retailer from Muzzafarpur, Bihar said they were increasingly growing wary of trading with dealers at the Mundka market.
But police are yet to receive any complaint from the traders.
Owners of either scrap yard are yet to approach us," said Sharad Aggarwal DCP (west) Delhi. "We will look into the matter if and when a formal complaint is lodged with us."