%OFF 9 of family killed in blaze at Andheri medical shop India’s rural buyers in urban mode
TRAGIC Infant, pregnant woman among victims; short circuit probable cause
A disaster was waiting to strike overcrowded Juhu galli — with its narrow lanes and residential structures on top of restaurants, garment and medical shops — and early on Thursday it did.
Around 6am, a fire, which engulfed a medical store, almost wiped out an entire family sleeping in rooms above the shop. Nine out of 12 members of the Khan family, including five children, died. The youngest victim was three-month-old Altaz Khan. Sabia Khan, 28, who was pregnant, died with 45% of burns, while on her way to the hospital. One person was injured in the incident.
Authorities said the electric meter installed in Wafa medical store, owned by the family, caught fire.
“There are several reports of electricity theft, with multiple illegal electrical wiring and meter theft in the area. Water was continuously dripping on the store’s electric meter and the illegal electric wiring might have caused the short circuit,” a source said.
Neighbours said the family made attempts to escape. But there was only one exit — a single narrow staircase through the store, which was locked.
The women and children in the family were trapped on the second floor and suffocated in the small rooms fitted with air conditioners, internal narrow The fire brigade took around 45 minutes to douse the blaze at the Wafa medical store, owned by the Khan family, at Juhu galli in Andheri.
staircases and no ventilation.
Only three family members escaped — Imitaz Khan, the owner of the shop, Nizammudin Khan, his brother and father Moazzam Khan. Authorities said they escaped from the first floor to the terrace on the next building with the help of neighbours.
“Within minutes, the house and the store were in flames, we tried dousing the fire with buckets of water from neighbouring houses. We saved three of the family members after we broke the roof, but it was too late for others,” said Ismail Qureshi, neighbour.
Within half an hour of the fire breaking out, residents tried to open the shop’s shutters to create an exit. But they failed because the shop was locked from the inside, forcing them to break open the temporary roof structures.
“The three men tried to enter the house to save their family members, but within minutes, flames and smoke had engulfed the entire structure. The women and children were on the second floor and could not escape,” said Noorjhan Shaikh, a neighbour and the owner’s cousin.
Spending patterns in cities and villages are fast converging, as rural households now pay for most goods and services usually associated with urban lifestyles — from mircrowave ovens and laundry services to air travel and even out-of-home dining — a landmark government survey shows.
The basket of goods and services that hogs major portions of rural budgets is getting bigger, underscoring the importance of keeping rural incomes steady with better jobs and agriculture. The upshot is that since rural demand accounts for a large share of overall sales, falling rural incomes can dent other sectors of Asia’s third-largest economy.
Although buses remain the main mode of transport in both urban and rural India, 0.04% rural households reported travelling by air, compared to 0.14% by their urban counterparts. Also, rural households now spend about 21% of their monthly service-related budget on eating out, compared to 22% by urban households, indeed another sign of converging lifestyles.
Across villages and cities, consumer spending habits don’t seem to vary much, data from the 72nd round of the National Sample Survey shows. But rural households tend to spend a significantly higher amount in some categories as a proportion of their monthly budget, mainly because of comparatively lower incomes.
This is the first focused survey on consumer habits across India by the National Sample Survey Organisation, carried out between July 2014 and June 2015.