Asansol, March 1: Traders at an Asansol market today gheraoed and detained the mayor and fire brigade officials for an hour when they went to inspect fire-safety measures in the wake of the blaze at Calcutta’s Surya Sen Market on Wednesday.
The traders at Pucca Bazaar alleged that every time a big fire took place in Calcutta, the authorities in Asansol begin inspection drives but “nothing happens thereafter” to bring to book those market owners who violate fire-safety norms.
Fire officials, however, said a section of traders who had built shops flouting rules tried to “foil” the inspection.
Mayor Tapas Banerjee, fire official Selim Javed and about a dozen officials had gone to the four-decade-old market for a surprise inspection around 11am.
The officials had brought a fire engine to find out whether the entrance to the market was wide enough for evacuation during a blaze. But as the street to the market has been narrowed by encroachment, the fire engine could not proceed.
As the fire fighters and civic body employees started demolishing the makeshift constructions and corrugated shades that blocked the entry of the fire engine, the traders at Pucca Bazaar became angry and pushed the mayor.
An official said Pucca Bazaar did not have an underground water reservoir, hosepipes and automatic water sprinklers. The alleys and staircases are narrow and inadequate exits.
He said many markets in the area did not have municipality and fire department licences.