Blaze claims cotton worth Rs 20 cr near Gadag

Blaze claims cotton worth Rs 20 cr near Gadag

Cotton worth Rs 20 crore was destroyed in a fire that gutted a ginning factory on the Hubli-Solapur Highway on Wednesday.

Cotton bales and bags burn at a factory near Nargund on Wednesday. DH photo

As many as 12,000 bales of ginned cotton, 9,000 bags of raw cotton and 500 tonne of cotton seeds were destroyed in the fire that also destroyed expensive machinery in the factory owned by Shyamsunder Rati.

The fire that was noticed around 10:30 am just as the workers arrived for their shift. Very soon, it spread like a wild fire, and the workers could barely manage to escape the flames.
It raged till late in the evening, as the blaze proved beyond the limited capacity of fire forces that rushed to the spot. The accidental fire spread very quickly to the entire factory and the open yard as well as the godown storing the ginned and raw cotton and the cotton seeds reducing them to ashes. The blaze ranged over two acres of the factory land and disrupted traffic on the highway. The magnitude of the fire led to mild panic in Nargund town.

Rushing to the spot within a short time, the fire force personnel from Nargund could not enter the factory which was by now a burning inferno. They demolished the rear compound wall of the factory to provide access to the fire douser.

Proving inadequate to fight blaze, the local fire forces sought reinforcements from Hubli, Annigeri and Ron. By the time help arrived, the fire had reached mammoth proportions. The factory owners expressed their anger at the inadequacy of the fire forces to control the blaze.

Dilip Rati, one of the owners of the factory placed the loss at around Rs 20 crore. Many merchants said the fire was the worst ever in the history of the region.