Kolkata mar­ket fire snuffs out 80cr biz ahead of fes­tive sea­son

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

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.

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