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Exhibition ground fire: Traders protest, seek compensation

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Press Trust of India Hyderabad
: Traders whose makeshift shops were gutted in a fire that swept through the exhibition grounds here, Thursday staged a protest demanding compensation.
Meanwhile, police said investigation was on to ascertain the exact cause of the fire that broke out at the exhibition grounds Wednesday night destroying 130 makeshift stalls.
There was no loss of life or injury to anyone, police said adding it and other departments launched investigation to ascertain the exact cause of the incident.
Traders said they suffered heavy property loss due to the fire and claimed they had taken loans to set up the stalls and demanded that the government extend financial assistance.
The protesting traders gathered near the Exhibition Grounds and raised slogans alleging the Exhibition Society did not make proper arrangements and no one came to their rescue when flames engulfed their stalls and destroyed shopping material, a charge denied by the Society.
"We are thoroughly inquiring and action will be initiated against those responsible. CCTV footage is also being verified," a Exhibition Society official said adding the exhibition would remain close for the public Thursday.
"Everything has been reduced to ashes... we suffered heavy property loss. We had taken loans to run businesses and now we are on the streets," some traders said.
They blamed the Exhibition Society over the incident alleging the fire engine stationed at the exhibition grounds did not have sufficient water.
The blaze started at around 8.30 pm at a private bank's stall and then spread rapidly to adjacent makeshift stalls due to a suspected short-circuit, police said based on the preliminary probe.
There were no casualties in the incident in which 130 stalls were gutted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) P Viswa Prasad told PTI.
He said a fire accident case has been registered in connection with the incident.
Telangana Home Minister MohammedMahmood Ali has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Two persons, who were admitted to hospital due to suffocation after thick smoke engulfed the area, have been discharged, officials said.
Fire-fighting teams along with 12 fire tenders and as many water tankers put out the blaze along with personnel from the disaster response force of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, they said.
The fire spread panic among the hundreds of visitors, all of whom were safely evacuated, officials said.
They said a total of 35,000 people Wednesday visited the 45-day long All-India industrial exhibition 'Numaish', which began on January 1.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 2:15 PM IST

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