Delhi: Traders blame poor infrastructure, demand compensation over Chandni Chowk fire

The fire broke out at around 9 pm on Thursday in a shop in Mahalaxmi Market and soon spread to adjacent ones, all dealing in electrical appliances, officials said.

Published: 25th November 2022 07:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2022 07:36 PM   |  A+A-

Chandini Chowk Fire

Fire officials trying to douse fire at Bhagirath Palace market of Chandni Chowk where a fire broke out last night in New Delhi, Nov. 25, 2022. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)


NEW DELHI: Traders in Bhagirath Palace have blamed narrow lanes, poor infrastructure, and inflammable material for the blaze in the wholesale market and the delay in fire tenders reaching the spot.

The firefighting operations were "poorly executed" due to which the fire spread to several shops and caused losses worth "hundreds of crores," they claimed while demanding financial compensation from the government.

The fire broke out at around 9 pm on Thursday in a shop in Mahalaxmi Market and soon spread to adjacent ones, all dealing in electrical appliances, officials said.

Around 100 shops in the wholesale market in Chandni Chowk were gutted. No injuries have been reported so far, police said. According to the traders, they have suffered cumulative losses of more than Rs 400 crore.

Sanjay Kumar, who has an electronic shop and warehouse in the market, arrived early morning to assess the damage. His shop was about 50 metres from the building that first caught fire. "The fire has reached my godown. The fire department has sprayed water now. I think it has doused," said Kumar.

"The lanes here are narrow and the infrastructure is of British era. No repair work has been done and no precaution has been taken. See the mesh of hanging wires... This tragedy was imminent," he said pointing towards spaghetti-like cables lurking overhead.

He also alleged that the poor execution of the firefighting operation is responsible for the fire spreading in several shops. "The fire could have been doused earlier but the water pressure was low," he claimed.

Located in the heart of Chandni Chowk, the market is a famous electronics market as the majority of the shops in the area sell electrical appliances.

The traders claimed that they get customers from across the country and the world. The traders also blamed unauthorised kiosks in the common area for delaying the firefighting operations.

"The fire department first had to demolish several kiosks as vehicles were not able to enter the narrow lanes. The lanes are already narrow and the unauthorised kiosks make the situation worse," said a trader Rajendra.

The traders also accused the authorities of not taking corrective measures to resolve the persisting infrastructural problems, which cause frequent fires in the area.

They also demanded compensation from the government for the losses they incurred.

"We have written to the Delhi government a lot of times to take corrective measures in the market but no action has been taken so far. A fire erupts every five to six months. There is a mesh of hanging wires everywhere and no fire warning system has been installed. No infrastructure improvement has been done," a trader said.

"The government should compensate the shopkeepers for the losses they have incurred," he added.

Meanwhile, the fire officials said that weak structures, shortage of water and narrow lanes posed a major challenge for them to carry out firefighting operations.

In a tweet, the Director of Delhi Fire Service Atul Garg said, "Fire in Chandni Chowk. A total of 40 fire vehicles and 200-plus fire personnel were deployed. Major concern - weak structures, shortage of water and narrow lane, building started collapsing."


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp