Kolkata market fire snuffs out 80cr biz ahead of festive season
Kolkata: A massive blaze in Bagri Market, one of Kolkata’s most prominent wholesale markets in the heart of the city’s tinderbox capital of Burrabazar, gutted 80 shops and devoured at least Rs 80 crore worth of goods, all lying packed to be shipped across Kolkata, Bengal and eastern India ahead of the region’s biggest festival season.
The only consolation that traders managed to get out of the ashes and the rubble left behind by the seventh major fire in a Burrabazar market in the last10 years was the fact that there was no loss of life or limb; the fire started at 2.35am, when the market was desolate except for 13 security guards and their families.
But every trader in the market said the scale of loss was “colossal”, which would be compounded by the timing of the fire: Bagri Market alone does business of over Rs 1,000 crore in the run-up to and during the year’s biggest festive season, which starts from Mahalaya and runs till the end of the year with a short break after Diwali. The fire, which comes 12 days after the Majerhat bridge collapse, may also have a larger collateral damage on commercial activity ahead of the festive season, fear traders. “One catastrophe is bad. A second in amonth, which precedes Durga Puja and Diwali, may impact retail logistics while the government is being proactive in taking most timely corrective measures,” said Subhodip Ghosh, director general of Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.