Over 300 labourers left homeless as fire destroys shanties in Ludhiana village
It was a close shave for around 50 migrant labourers as a fire broke out in over 50 closely packed shanties in Rawat village on Rahon road on Friday. Though no casualty was reported, over 300 migrant labourers, including women and children, have been rendered homeless. Over a dozen goats have died in the incident, labourers said.
Besides, furniture, electronic devices and other valuables, including some cash they had saved for emergencies, were also destroyed in the fire.
Though the cause of the fire has not been ascertained, some claimed that the incident took place while a labourer was cooking food in one of the shanties, while a few others said that there was short-circuit due to the electricity cables hanging overhead.
As per information, the fire broke out around 9am and due to the strong winds, it spread quickly. Four gas cylinders kept in the shanties are also said to have exploded.
Govind Kumar said, “I was working in the farms when I came to know about the incident. I rushed back and saw that everything had been gutted. Everyone around was screaming and crying over their loss. It is already so difficult to find work due to the coronavirus spread, and now we lost the roof over our head too.”
Most of the residents here hail from Bihar and have been living in this village for over three decades years. They have now been shifted to the village gurdwara, where food is being provided by police and villagers.
RESIDENTS CLAIM DELAY IN FIRE FIGHTING OPS
A few labourers claimed that there was a delay in the arrival of the fire brigade, however, the fire fighters claimed they reached the spot 10 minutes after receiving the alert. Ravi Kumar, a fire fighter, said it took over three hours for the fire brigade to control the blaze.
Meharban station house officer (SHO) Kulwant Singh Malhi said soon after getting the information, he went to the spot and shifted the labourers to the local gurdwara. “It is suspected that fire broke out while a labourer was cooking food. Police commissioner Rakesh Agrawal has been apprised of the whole situation,” said Malhi.
TWO OTHER FIRE MISHAPS
Meanwhile, a two-year-old girl suffered burns in a fire at a labour quarter in Phase 7 of Focal Point Area. Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Bhupinder Singh deputed at Jeevan Nagar police post said, “The fire broke out in the room after a burning candle fell off a shelf when the family was sleeping on Thursday night. The child has been shifted to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and her condition is stable. Other family members are safe and fire was controlled with the help of fire brigade.”
Another fire incident was reported from a shawl manufacturing unit in Geeta Colony on Tajpur road on Thursday night. The incident took place around 9.30pm. As the factory was closed at the time, no casualty was reported, however, the owner said, he lost goods worth lakhs.