Fire burns down 100 shanties near Batla House, no injuriesdelhi Updated: Oct 18, 2017 00:40 IST
Locals in southeast Delhi’s Batla House said they have lost all belongings in the fire.(Shiv Sunny/HT Photo)
More than 100 shanties were ravaged by a fire that broke out in a slum in south Delhi’s Batla House on Tuesday.
Police said the blaze had rendered at least 400 people living the slum caleld Dhobi Ghat homeless.
Residents said that strong winds on Tuesday moring caused the fire to spread quickly, leaving them with no chance to save either their belongings or cash. They added that though all the residents managed to escape the blaze on time, at least 10 goats and some other poultry perished in the fire.
On Tuesday, the slum dwellers went back to salvaging whatever little they could from the charred remains of their shanties within hours of the fire being being put out. Some of the locals said they were miffed with the government’s response to the disaster.
Unlike many previous similar blazes in the city, they said, no visible work to erect tents, provide food or even tea was initiated by authorities more than three hours after the fire broke out.
“Leaders from different political parties visited us, but no one cared enough to arrange food. Most of us were yet to have lunch when the fire happened. We don’t even have money to buy food for our children,” said one local resident Mohammad Ayyub, hours after the blaze.
A sole DJB water tanker at the spot was the only visible sign of help for the hapless residents at 3pm, three hours after the fire erupted.
“It gets cold at nights and most of us have been unable to save even a bed sheet,” said Bhuri Shah, a local resident. Officials arriving at the site promised that tents would be up soon.
The blaze, sources said, was first spotted around 11.30am, in Dhobi Ghat that is populated by over 100 huts or tiny brick houses that housed people working as drivers, rickshaw-pullers, maids and washermen. While fire department officials and locals said 100 huts had burnt down, police said only 45 shanties were affectd by the fire.
Though, the exact cause of the fire was not immediately known, most locals attributed it to a short-circuit.
Residents also insisted that fire tenders took nearly an hour to reach the spot, a claim dismissed by police and fire officials. “The fire fighters reached the spot within 17 minutes of receiving the firstcall,” said Romil Baaniya, DCP (southeast). Residents had started rescue work on their own by then, by drrawing water from the Yamuna and trying to douse the flames.