New Delhi: A major fire broke out on Sunday in a container depot here, one of the biggest such facilities in Asia, which destroyed 24 of the 25 warehouses that store goods worth crores meant for exports.
The blaze started at around 5am but the fire brigade was informed around 5:45am. The fire quickly spread to around 30 containers storing clothes and tyres at the depot in Tuglaqabad, which is the largest dry port in South Asia.
Delhi Fire Services director R.C. Sharma said there was a delay of 45 minutes in reporting the matter to fire brigade.
“The fire spread rapidly. By the time we reached, a portion of the roof had collapsed,” Sharma said.
Thirty-two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and it took around five hours to douse the flames.
While there were no casualties, the losses would be enormous with Delhi Exporters Association claiming that material worth Rs100 crore were gutted. However, there was no official confirmation on this.
The Inland Container Depot (ICD), as it is officially known, is spread over 60 hectares in Tughlaqabad.
The reason for the fire is not known, said the official, adding that the flames destroyed 24 of the 25 warehouses storing goods meant for export.
The fire led to a huge traffic jam on the road linking Mehrauli and Badarpur.
The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts said that handicrafts products worth over Rs60 crore were reduced to ashes in the fire.
“Handicrafts products worth over Rs60 crore were gutted in the fire,” EPCH chairman Raj Kumar Malhotra said.
The ICD is always congested, as more than 400 containers of goods are stored there against the capacity of just 200, he said. He also alleged that there were “no proper precautionary fire-fighting measures at the ICD”.
EPCH has demanded that the Container Corporation of India (CCI) pay for the losses incurred by exporters without any delay on the basis of the shipping bills.
Delhi Exporters Association president S.P. Aggarwal demanded that they should be given adequate compensation for the losses.
He also said that they should be given finance at zero per cent interest by the government.
Short-circuit is suspected to the cause of fire, he said adding, 2,500 shipments were affected due to the incident.
“Ninety per cent of the material were gutted in the fire,” he claimed.