A major fire incident that occurred on Wednesday late night, in which several cloth shops were gutted, on Thursday created panic among shopkeepers at Rainak Bazar with several naked electrical wire joints dangling in the streets.
Shopkeepers said on Wednesday evening, there was a power cut in the market around 8.30pm and a sudden high voltage after electricity supply was resumed caused short-circuit resulting in fire.
While Paras Silk Store and Modern Travelling Bag were gutted, three adjoining shops, including Lucky Wedding Mall, suffered losses. Flames had also started spreading towards the backside vegetable market where shopkeepers were forced to close their shops to avoid losses.
The shopkeepers held the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) responsible for the incident and alleged that due to their negligence in leaving bare and dangling wires led to the fire.
They said more than 250 shops are situated in the market and the incident could happen to anyone in future as well, since wire joints outside their shops are not covered.
“After this incident, employees from the electricity department immediately covered some wire joints outside our shops,” said Ashok Sobti, president, Rainak Bazar Association-2.
Som Nath, president, Rainak Bazar Association-1, said sparking in wires after sudden increase in voltage caused the fire incident.
Gopal Sharma, deputy chief engineer, PSPCL, Jalandhar, said they have awarded the Rs 192 crore project to a private company which will replace all the worn and wire joints for safety purpose.
“The work to install electricity meters outside shops and make wires joint free will be started in Jalandhar to ensure safety,” he said.