13 Dead In Ludhiana Fire; Punjab Chief Minister Announces Compensation

The multi-storey factory building had yesterday collapsed after by a major fire followed by an explosion in Mushtaq Ganj near Cheema Chowk here.

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13 Dead In Ludhiana Fire; Punjab Chief Minister Announces Compensation

Ludhiana Fire: Amarinder Singh announced compensation for the family members of the dead (PTI)

Ludhiana:  A day after a plastic factory caught fire and collapsed, the toll in the incident rose to 13 even as rescue operations continued today to search for those feared trapped under the debris.

The multi-storey factory building had yesterday collapsed after by a major fire followed by an explosion in Mushtaq Ganj near Cheema Chowk here.

Expressing grief over the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, during a visit to the site today, ordered the Patiala Divisional Commissioner to conduct a detailed inquiry and also announced compensation for the family members of those killed.

The toll in the incident has risen to 13, which included six firemen, Ludhiana DCP Dhruman Nimble said.

A few more persons are still feared trapped under the debris and rescue operations are underway, an official said.

Additional Commissioner Municipal Corporation Rishi Pal said three more staff of the fire brigade are still feared trapped.

The chief minister took a stock of the situation and directed the district authorities to speed up the rescue and relief efforts.

Consoling the families of the victims, he said no stone would be left unturned in finding those feared to be still trapped under the debris.

Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, state Congress chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar, and Media Advisor to the chief minister Raveen Thukral had accompanied Amarinder Singh.

Two men injured in the incident are undergoing treatment at CMC Hospital in Ludhiana. The Chief Minister directed the Deputy Commissioner to ensure free treatment for them.

Amarinder Singh said family members of firemen and the sanitary inspector killed in the incident would get Rs 10 lakh ex gratia and announced one job for every family on compassionate grounds.

Kin of the others killed in the incident would be given compensation of Rs 2 lakh each, he said.

The Chief Minister made it clear that strict action would be initiated against any officer found guilty of dereliction of duty or lapse of any kind, leading to the fire.

Mr Singh said his government was cognizant of the state of the fire services in the state and has already taken several steps to strengthen it.

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A Directorate of Fire Services was established earlier this year and 69 fire tenders have been purchased and given to municipal corporations and municipal councils. Another 27 fire tenders would arrive by next month, he said, adding a new Fire Safety Bill was being formulated which would be ready by December.

Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the incident.

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