Updated: March 28, 2021 6:18:02 am
DASTAGIR SHAIKH, who runs a stall selling bags at Fashion Street, said, “We suffered major losses during lockdown imposed by the government due to Covid-19 outbreak. Our stalls were shut for about six months… After the market opened up, we started our stalls again. But the business was not much. Now, with the second wave of Covid-19, the number of customers has reduced and our income has gone down. But we were working hard to earn a living. Some of us recently purchased more stock. However, the fire has damaged everything.”
“We shut our stalls around 10 pm and left Fashion Street. Then, we rushed to our stalls after we found out about the fire. It was shocking to see that most of the stalls and the material inside had turned to ashes,” said Dastagir, while speaking to The Indian Express.
Advocate MG Akolkar, president of MG Road Hawkers and Pathari Association Seva Santha, said owners of these 448 stalls at Fashion Street, who got open spaces, are members of the association. “All stalls were totally damaged in the fire incident. Besides, there are about 200 more stalls at Fashion Street site, including 121 stalls that were given temporary allocation by the PCB in 2004, without taking us into consideration. Many stalls continued to operate illegally.”
“We will be meeting the Pune District Collector demanding Rs 2 lakh each for 448 stalls, which amounts to a compensation of about Rs 9 crore. It will help victims in setting up their business again,” he said.
Akolkar also said the fire incident was suspicious. “Stalls have been operating here since 1997. Such an incident has never happened in the past…”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.