About 85 jhuggies (huts) were destroyed after a fire broke out in a slum near Sector 3, Dwarka, in Matiala constituency, on Saturday. It took 25-30 fire tenders to bring the blaze under control.
However, according to some sources, the number of jhuggies destroyed in the fire could be well close to 150.
Azimul Haq, deputy commissioner (South-West), visited the site and said, “Everything is under control. Tents are being placed. We are arranging for tea and snacks, and dinner tonight for those affected. A water tanker is also in place and a mobile toilet van is expected to arrive shortly. A list of affected families is being prepared for compensation. As people have lost their clothes in the fire, we are also trying to get some old clothes through an NGO."
People from several societies close to the slum were also concerned. They believe the fire was a result of illegal waste segregation in the area. Himachali CGHS, Balaji CGHS, Heritage Tower, Welcome, Air India, National and Prodyogiki are some of the societies near the spot where the fire broke out.
Jitendra Uppal, president of Himachali CGHS, said, “We are closest to the spot where the fire broke out. We helped the fire tenders in every way we could. The fire is a result of illegal garbage and waste segregation in the area. Such activities make the area vulnerable to fire in the summers. The administration should probe the issue, as there are many societies around the slum that are densely populated.”
He added, “We were lucky that the wind was blowing in a direction that prevented the heat and the smoke from coming towards us. There could have been another fire. We consider ourselves fortunate that our society has an efficient fire-safety system in place.”
Kailash Chander, president of Balaji Apartments, said, “The place where the fire broke out is used to segregate inflammable waste such as plastic, polythene, hard paper and thermocol illegally. I don’t know why the administration is not serious about it. First, these places should be cleared and such practices disallowed anywhere near the population.”
Madhury Varshney, a social activist residing in Ekta Society in Sector 3, who visited the spot, told City Spidey, “Though there has been no casualty, the whole area is destroyed. Also, the fire tenders found it difficult to reach the spot. Such places are prone to catching fire, as inflammable waste is dumped here in large quantities."