A massive fire gutted a factory at Sanand in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation area Wednesday morning. More than 36 fire tenders have been deployed at the site to control the fire that has been raging for more than seven hours now.
According to officials, the fire started around 8:30 am at Unicharm India Private Limited Wednesday. The firm is an Indian subsidiary of Japanese major Unicharm Corporation and manufactures hygiene products such as cotton diapers under the brand names MamyPoko, Sofy and Lifree.
The facility at Sanand, spread over 3 lakh square metres, is one of the biggest units of the company that began operations in 2018.
The fire which began in one of the sections of the factory premises owing to cotton products kept in bulk catching fire.
“As many as 36 fire tenders from Ahmedabad fire department and nearby Dholka and Viramgam fire stations have been pressed into service. We have spent more than 20 lakh litres of water till now and it will take us another 3-4 hours to control the fire. The entire factory has been burnt down. No casualty or injury to any workers has been reported.
“The factory had installed a sound alarm system for the fire that resulted in quick evacuation of the workers present inside. Prima facie the cause of fire appears to be short circuit but we are probing it. As the factory was producing cotton diapers, fire spread due to the inflammable nature of cotton,” said KT Kamaria, deputy superintendent of police, Ahmedabad rural.
The Unicharm company that operates in two business verticals — baby care and feminine care — also has units at the Japanese industrial zone in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
Ajit Shah, president of Sanand Industrial Association, said, “The fire engulfed the entire factory as the fire tenders reached late. We have been demanding a fire brigade station at the Sanand GIDC for the last eight years and the government is yet to allot one.”
In May 2019, after a major fire broke out in a chemical unit at Sanand, The Indian Express had reported about Gujarat government’s decision to set up a fire brigade station within Sanand GIDC at the cost of Rs 5 crore. Under this project, 80 per cent of the cost is to be borne by Sanand GIDC and the remaining will be pooled in by Sanand Industrial Association. However, the project is yet to see the light of day.
The Sanand GIDC is spread over 2000 hectares and has engineering, automobile, semiconductor, electronics and FMCG units.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took to Twitter and wrote, “A fire incident has taken place at a factory in Sanand of Ahmedabad district. I am in contact with the district collector and concerned officials. To control the fire, teams of fire brigade have reached and along with them team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also arrived. I pray for the safety of all(sic).”
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