Fire engulfs fruits, vegetables wholesale market

Published: March 07, 2013

Traders suffer Rs 200m loss 

By Tanveer Sher 

KARACHI: The traders of fruits and vegetables have suffered a colossal financial loss of Rs 200 million in the wake of Wednesday’s widespread fire at the largest wholesale market of the country situated along Super Highway, which engulfed a large portion of the market.

The loss was massive in the sense that some 1.0 to 1.2 million empty bags were burnt to ashes making it difficult for traders to ensure immediate alternate arrangements for storing their fruits and vegetables.

Traders have warned the government to observe an indefinite strike if it failed to announce relief package for them and compensate them properly to help overcome their losses. The traders immediately after the spread of fire communicated with administrator of the wholesale fruit and vegetable market Murtaza Baloch with the request to seek help of fire brigade to extinguish the blaze but he squarely failed to take cognisance of the fast deteriorating situation which sent a wave of resentment among affectees who suffered massive financial losses.

Former Sabzi mandi Market Committee chairman Asif Ahmad while lamenting over the allegedly reckless attitude of the administrator claimed that the administrator was informed immediately after the deadly fire erupted but he turned a deaf ear, which caused colossal financial loss to traders.

Some eight sheds out of a total 11 affected by the blaze were completely gutted. As a consequence large number of adjacent offices, business records and parked vehicles in the shades including wooden trolleys and rickshaws were also gutted.

Traders acting promptly on self help basis launched a rescue campaign by communicating in the process with Sindh additional IG police and other concerned officials to take immediate notice of the fast spread blaze, which resulted in arrival of the first fire brigade vehicles some one hour after the fire erupted.

All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable and Exporters and Merchant Association Chairman Waheed Ahmad while talking to the scribe claimed that the blaze was so intense that it started spreading towards big cold storages situated at the backyard of the vegetable market where a large quantity of ammonia gas was utilised for longer life of fruits and vegetables.

Realising the gravity of the situation, traders and factory owners sought help of water tankers, which helped expediting refilling of the fire brigade vehicles and control the situation before it got worse. He urged the government to take stock of the situation and help traders overcome their monetary losses, which is beyond their financial capacity.