Mysuru: Five to six shops at the Devaraja Market caught fire and suffered damage at around 3.20 pm yesterday.
Short-circuit in one of the shops is suspected to be the cause of fire which also spread to other shops.
As these shops were closed due to Bakrid, there was no danger to lives. However, due to the raging fire, the shops have been gutted resulting in loss of goods worth lakhs of rupees.
The tenants of opposite side shop, who noticed smoke and fire emanating from a shop, immediately informed the Fire and Emergency Services Department. There was tension in the place as the smoke was thick.
District Fire Officer Raju, Bannimantap Fire Station Officer Shivaswamy, Saraswathipuram Fire Station Officer Nagaraj Urs and the staff reached the spot in four Fire Brigade vans and doused the flames in an one-and-a-half hours operation.
As the shops were located in the centre of the market, the personnel had to struggle to put out the fire. They pulled out as much articles as possible but in the meanwhile, most of the articles were gutted.
MLA L. Nagendra and Area Corporator Pramila Bharat also rushed to the spot and inspected the damages.
ACP Gajendra Prasad, Devaraja Police Inspector Prasanna Kumar, Traffic Police Inspector and the staff controlled the crowd during the fire-dousing operation.
It may be recalled, on Feb.27, a flower shop in the Market had caught fire which spread to about four to five neighbouring shops and lakhs of rupees loss was suffered. The very next day, a shop selling household articles had caught fire. Thus, the nearly 125-year-old Devaraja Market is witnessing fire incidents regularly.
The main reason for this is the haphazard power connection where most of the shops have very old wire connections. A few of the wires are seen hanging around. Hence, short circuit is a common feature here, it is said.
Every day seven to eight thousand people visit Devaraja Market and during festive season, the number increases by four to five times.
If such incidents occur during the festival rush, then it could lead to unforeseen circumstances and also loss of lives.
There are efforts to demolish this 125-year-old structure and construct a new one with similar facade. However, heritage groups have tried to prevent this urging the authorities to restore and conserve the Market.
Notice to vacate shops
Meanwhile, the Mysuru City Corporation’s (MCC) Revenue Deputy Commissioner has issued notices (dated Aug.10, 2019) to the traders in Devaraja Market to vacate the shops as most of them are in weak condition following heavy rains. Earlier, in Aug.2016, the northern and central portion of Devaraja Market had collapsed due to rains and in the light of this and based on the order of the MCC Commissioner, the notice has been issued.
Two tenants bring stay
Even as the MCC issued notice to the tenants of Devaraja Market to vacate shops, two tenants have succeeded in bringing a stay to the notice, from the High Court.
The High Court, in its order, has stated that the MCC should withdraw the notice issued by it on Aug.10 within seven days from the receipt of this legal notice, failing which the tenants will be left with no alternative other than filing contempt petition against the MCC.