Vikash Sharma

The fire mishap at Keshari Mall near market building area in Bhubaneswar on Friday night has exposed the chinks in existing fire safety measures. The traders raked up such loopholes before the newly-elected Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sulochana Das’ spot visit last night.

The traders alleged that though BMC is charging money towards maintenance, no provision has been made for the maintenance of fire extinguishers at the mall.

“The BMC authorities are charging hefty amount as maintenance charge, but they are not providing any facility. If any trader fails to pay the maintenance charge on time, the power supply is snapped,” alleged a trader.

The trader, whose shop was gutted in the fire mishap, said that stock worth Rs 22 lakh had arrived at his shop yesterday. Besides, he had an old stock of Rs 18 lakh.

“There is absolutely no fire safety measures here. The fire extinguishers are empty. No fire safety mock drill has been conducted so far,” the trader alleged.

Responding to the allegations, BMC Mayor Sulochana Das said, “It is an unfortunate incident. We rushed to the spot after getting information about the fire mishap. We will conduct an investigation to ascertain the cause behind the fire.”

According to reports, some security guards spotted smoke billowing out of the mall which generally shuts down around 10 pm. The blaze was brought under control after due intervention of five fire-fighting teams.