A fire broke out in Sector-53 furniture market situated at Chandigarh's border with SAS Nagar (Mohali) on Wednesday night, gutting eight shops. The cause of fire was not known, but there was a blast. Goods comprising wooden furniture, foam, leather and thinner worth crores of rupees got destroyed. This was the 8th fire incident at the market in the last 16 years.
The flames were so high that eucalyptus trees along the road also caught fire. Ten fire tenders were pressed into service from Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Derabassi
The police cordoned off the area and traffic had to be diverted. In a desperate attempt to save goods, shopkeepers removed furniture and put it on the road.
Fire department officials said they received the call around 9pm. “We reached here within 5-10 minutes and managed to control the fire by 11pm, but could not douse it as yet. We are taking help from our counterparts in SAS Nagar. The shops had highly inflammable material and the fire spread quickly,” said fire officer ML Sharma.
Anwar Khan, who claimed to have lost goods worth Rs 50 lakh, said, “We do not know the exact cause of the fire. The furniture has been gutted.”
The market was established in 1990 and it has not got authorisation since then. There are a total of 114 shops here. The furniture made here is sold across the region — Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu — besides catering to the local market.
The members of the furniture market association alleged that the authorities have failed to provide them a proper place to run the business. A survey to shift the shop owners was done in 2009, but there was no progress ever since.
The traders claimed that the then UT administrators OP Verma in 2004 and Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) in 2009 had assured to allot them land, but to date nothing had been done.
Eighth time in 16 years: Earlier incidents
2015: 8 shops gutted in fire
2014: 5 shops destroyed
2012: 22 shops caught fire
2009: 8 shops destroyed
2002: 18 shops caught fire
2001: 10 shops destroyed
2000: 20 shops caught fire