Two local bodies of Siliguri subdivision — the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (SMP) —have decided to stand by traders of Naxalbari whose shops were gutted in Sunday's blaze.
On Tuesday, a meeting was held at the SMP to discuss the loss traders suffered ahead of Durga Puja in Naxalbari, some 25km from here.
“It has been decided that the SMC and the SMP will pay Rs 20,000 each to 38 shop owners whose shops were fully damaged in the fire. From the SMC, the money would be paid out of the mayor’s relief fund and contributions by councillors,” Siliguri mayor Gautam Deb said after the meeting.
Arun Ghosh, the SMP sabhapati, confirmed the announcement. “On Wednesday, we will hand over them compensation. Initiatives have been taken to get funds from the state disaster management department so that they can get more help,” he said.
Sourav Chakraborty, the chairman of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA), visited the marketplace on Tuesday with Ghosh and other board members of the SJDA.
“The market had burgeoned in an unplanned manner. The entire area is congested with shops and there is no water reservoir to handle incidents of fire,” said Chakraborty.
On Sunday night, five fire engines had to work for around three hours to bring the blaze under control. The fire gutted 38 shops and partially damaged another 20-odd shops selling garments, cosmetics, footwear and stationery.
“I will talk to the district magistrate about the market and then draw a plan for its reconstruction,” added the chairman of SJDA.