Hyderabad, June 15: A major fire destroyed over 3,200 cotton bales worth about Rs.3.70 crore in a godown on the premises of the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) located on the Chilakaluripet road on Sunday morning. The fire which broke out in the ‘E’ block was, however, contained by the evening after the fire brigade and poclains broke through the walls of the godown to allow access to the fire tenders.
Ministers and officials supervising the operation since the fire broke out in the morning heaved a sigh of relief after the fire was contained and prevented from spreading to other blocks. Amid conflicting versions over the reasons for the fire accident, Member of Parliament Rayapati Sambasiva Rao caused a flutter when he alleged that there could have been sabotage and demanded an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation. He said that the needle of suspicion pointed towards the buyers of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI). Deputy General Manager of the CCI, R.K. Gupta, ruled out foul-play and suspected that the fire could have been caused by an electrical short-circuit.
Short-circuit ruled out
Superintendent of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha said that the cause of the fire could be ascertained only after a detailed probe. Senior officials of the Electricity Department ruled out an electrical short-circuit and said that the lone transformer in the area was located 100-150 metres away from the CWC godown.
According to an eye-witness, Parveen, who was among the scores of women sorting out chillis in an adjacent cold storage, thick smoke was billowing through the roof of the godown at about 10 a.m. She quickly informed the watchman who in turn alerted the warehouse in-charge.
Soon, fire tenders from Guntur rushed to the spot and took up fire-fighting operations. Major Industries Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana, District Collector (incharge) Kantilal Dande and Municipal Commissioner Siddharth Jain rushed to the spot and supervised the operations. The Commissioner directed the deployment of water tankers to assist the relief operations.