Textile traders owing shops and godowns at the Raghuveer textile market in Surat have been facing losses worth crores of rupees due to their stock being locked inside the shops in the market that was sealed by the Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) following two fire incidents in the building in 11 days in January.
A massive fire broke out in the Raghuveer textile market complex at Punagam area in Surat on January 22, within 11 days of another fire incident in the same building. Several of the 500 shops in the complex were gutted, leading to losses of crores of rupees, after which SUDA officials sealed the market. Fire department sources said the structure of the building might have been damaged in the fire and advised a survey to find the structural stability of the building.
Two days ago, two traders — Anil Rathi and Bablu Marwadi — who own shops in the A wing of the market, approached Puna police that is probing the fire incident. They filed a petition requesting the police to allow them to take out their stock from the market.
According to police, Rathi owns four shops in the market, of which two were totally burnt, while Bablu Marwadi owns two shops, of which one was burnt.
After receiving their petition, police took permission from SUDA chairman and allowed them to take their stock. On Wednesday, when Rathi and Bablu were taking the textile material from their shops and loading on to a vehicle, a few other traders reached the spot. They had a heated exchange with the police, alleging that they took money from the duo to allow them to take their stock.
Punagam police inspector Vijay Goradiya reached the spot and pacified the traders who wanted to take out the remaining stock from their shops that were burnt. He told The Indian Express, “We received a petition from two textile traders whose shops were burnt. After taking permission from SUDA authorities, in the presence of our personnel, they took out the remaining stock of sarees and dress material when a few other shopkeepers came and made certain allegations against police. We asked them to take permission and that we would allow them to open their shops.”
Federation of Surat Textile Trader Association president Manoj Agrawal said, “There are several shops in the Raghuveer market and many of them shops in B and C wings were not affected by fire. The SUDA authorities should allow the traders to take out their stock so that they can do business elsewhere. These traders lost their business since the fire incident. We will make a representation to SUDA chairman soon.”
Rajeshbhai Jain, a shopowner, said, “My shop was not affected in the fire but I lost business since the incident as SUDA has locked the complex.” SUDA sources said that investigation was on and that a decision would be taken after expert advice on structural stability of the building.
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