City witnesses 3rd major godown fire within 42 days
A massive fire broke out in the fourth floor of the Rupayan Arcade on the morning of 12th December in the Fancy Bazar area, making it the third major incident in the last 45 days.
A source in the fire department said, “The last two fires on 1st November and 7th December this year were also reported in godowns.”
On 1st November, a plastic goods godown along with two adjacent buildings was gutted at Tokobari area in Athgaon. On 7th December two godowns were partially damaged in Haldi Gali of Athgaon area.
The Rupayan Arcade fire engulfed nearly two garment godowns, 14 garment shops and a tailoring outlet before it was finally brought under control. Local residents said that the fire started from a garment godown and gradually engulfed other nearby shops.
DGP of Fire & Emergency Services, AP Rout said, “The cause of the fire is suspected to be an electrical short circuit,” adding that the fire fighters faced a tough time to douse the fire because the lane (SS Road) in Fancy Bazar is very narrow and messy.
The fire vehicles reached the spot within seven minutes but it took around 30 minutes for the hydraulic platform to reach the spot because of the congested traffic.
Rout said that the concern remains that people take electricity connections but there are no fire extinguishers installed in the establishments which is a must for areas like Fancy Bazar.
The fire department is also investigating if the godowns which were destroyed by fire recently had obtained fire clearance certificates in the past or not.
Illegal godowns flourishing in many city areas
Many illegal godowns are operating in city areas without any permission from the authorities.
Town Planner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Deepak Bezbaruah said, “GMC, from time to time, raids and seals such godowns,” adding that recently around 20 godowns in the National Highway areas were served notice for functioning without any permission.
Talking about illegal godowns, the residents of Jyotikuchi Dhupolia said that there are many residential buildings in the area operating as godowns and it is suspected that many of them do not have any permission.
Even in Fancy Bazar and Athgaon areas many godowns are operating illegally.
Blaming the GMC officials, Councillor of Ward No 9, Rajkumar Tewari said, “As a councillor we can just inform the GMC officials about such concerns,” adding that he had raised the issue many times during Mayor-in-Council meeting but GMC field-level workers are not working efficiently.
Tewari said that after the recent fire incident at Rupayan Arcade in SS Road, officials came to know that there are godowns on the top floor of the building. The GMC officials should have known about it as they visit the building for collecting tax, he alleged.
DGP of Fire & Emergency Services, AP Rout said, “All authorised godowns should have fire clearance certificates from the Fire & Emergency Department.”
An authorised godown must have proper trade license, fire clearance certificate, occupancy certificate, building permission and proper parking facility, a GMC source said.
GMC to identify and close all illegal godowns
After the recent SS Road fire incident, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has decided to speedily identify and seal all illegal godowns in the city.
A GMC source said, “The GMC commissioner has asked the deputy commissioners of all the zones to conduct a survey and identify all illegal godowns operating in Guwahati.”
After the identification a notice will be served to such godowns and finally it will be sealed, the source added.
Even the district administration has asked the GMC to identify all illegal godowns and act against them, a district administration source said.