Panaji: At dawn of October 2, Nooruddin Hamirani, owner of the Presidential Supermarket at KTC’s interstate bus terminus complex at Panaji, woke up to the news of his store engulfed in flames.
A major fire broke out at the complex on Monday owing to what is being speculated as a short circuit that originated inside the supermarket. The state transport department’s office, located on the first floor, was also gutted in the fire.
No injuries or casualties were reported in the government building, which is operated by the state-run Kadamba transport corporation limited (KTCL).
The Presidential Supermarket, a departmental store, sells a complete line of grocery merchandise and has been operational for over a decade. Also available were plasticware, cutlery, crockery and other items besides groceries.
Hamirani, who arrived at the site to inspect the remains of his store, said, “I learnt of the fire at dawn, when the owner of Hotel Kamat (also in the premises) called to inform me. I have had this store for 18 years. I have a licence to operate and the store is also insured. From what we can see, there is a total loss of goods. I estimate a loss of Rs 70-90 lakh, but it’s tough to tell since we weren’t permitted to enter the premises by fire personnel.”
His family informed that they hadn’t contacted the bank owing to October 2, being a public holiday. But will do so the following day in order to claim insurance.
The fire was brought under control in a few hours by the state fire services, who reached the premises at around 6am.
“The fire, which started at the centre of the building complex, would’ve spread on a larger scale were it not for the timely intervention of the fire brigade. Their action has averted losses to the other shopkeepers, whose shops surround the supermarket. There is a need for CCTV cameras on every nook-and-corner of the building to monitor it and keep us alert,” said Antonio Inacio, spokesperson, Kadamba Tenants Association.
Wiring at complex dates to 1982
KTCL authorities had recently asked shopkeepers for their electricity bills in order conduct an assessment of the power load at the Panaji KTC bus complex. The corporation was in the process of changing the entire electric wiring at the premises, which had not been done since 1982.
There are a total of 176 shops at the complex, many of which have been operational since 1980, even before the complex was erected. Later these shopkeepers were tendered shops within the complex.
“Since 1982, nothing was done to rewire the area. Only additional wiring was done. We now have to totally remove it and give separate electricity phases for the building,” said managing director, KTCL, Derek Pereira Neto.
“Our building’s structure has to be totally repaired, the cost of which will be more than Rs 1 crore. We don’t have insurance, since it is a government building. The shop keepers, however, are insured,” he said.