At least 200 shops were reduced to ashes in a massive fire at a local market near Arunachal Pradesh’s Itanagar early this morning. There was no casualty in the fire that was first spotted around 3:30 am, police said.
More than Rs 3 crore of property and goods were destroyed in the devastating fire at Naharlagun Daily Market near Itanagar, which was reportedly caused by firecrackers or lamps lit for Diwali at a house in the locality.
The fire spread within no time as the shops were made of bamboo and timber with dry items stored in abundance in the market, officials said.
Despite the market’s proximity to the fire station, the fire officials failed to respond on time, locals have alleged. Shopkeepers said that no personnel could be found when they rushed to the fire station to report the matter. They also claimed that the fire services personnel were not carrying enough water when they arrive at the site.
To refill the engines, the personnel had to travel a long distance, and they could come back with water only around 5 am, by which most of the market was already in flames, the shopkeepers alleged.
“The police also did not act. All of them should be terminated from service for failure to perform their duties,” Naharlagun Bazar Welfare Committee president Kipa Nai was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACC&I) president Tarh Nachung has demanded that all fire personnel on duty be suspended for negligence.
It was the failure of the government that it did not set up the minimum infrastructure required for fire fighting — such as water filling points, which should immediately be made available at different locations in the Capital Complex, he said.
“If this is the situation in the heart of the capital, what would be the situation in the districts,” he questioned.
Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso told reporters that the market would be rebuilt by the state government in cooperation with ACC&I.
With inputs from PTI