Tibet Sun Newsroom
McLEOD GANJ, India, 5 September 2019
A major fire at a godown has destroyed the merchandise of 12 Tibetan families. It was the entire stock of merchandise for the upcoming winter business in Dhule in Maharashtra, where Mumbai is the capital. No casualties were reported.
A short circuit is said to be the cause of the fire, that broke out in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Goods worth 2,65,00,000 rupees (3,70,000 USD approx) have been lost in the fire. The goods were mostly taken on loan from the suppliers in Ludhiana, Punjab.
All the 12 Tibetan families are seasonal traders from Puruwala and Dickyiling Tibetan settlements in Himachal Pradesh state. They set up makeshift shops in Dhule during the winter season from October to January.
A few women, victims of the devastation, were seen crying at the site in a video circulated on the social media. It could be clearly seen that the entire stock was destroyed by the fire.
One of the senior members of the affected families, Phurbu (who uses only one name) speaking to Tibet Sun explained that the short circuit was caused by the heavy rain.
She said that they have met with the Minister of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and the representative of Bhandara Tibetan Settlement in Nagpur, Maharashtra, to report the fire and the damage, and to seek help.
“They consoled us and assured us of all the help they could provide,” she said.
Phurbu, 57, is from Puruwala, and has been coming to Dhule for more than 35 years for the winter business. In the summers she weaves carpet at her settlement.
The Department of Home of CTA is awaiting the report of the fire. Speaking to Tibet Sun, a staff at the department said that the Home Minister of CTA, Sonam Topgyal, has met with members of the 12 families in Nagpur. “Depending on the extent of the fire, our department will provide as much assistance as we can, mostly by asking for donations.”
A group of Tibetans in New York City, who hailed from Puruwala, are setting up a donation table to raise funds for the relief of the aggrieved families.
The winter garment business is one of the main sources of income for thousands of Tibetans in India. They bring sweaters from Ludhiana and jackets from Delhi to sell in various Indian cities during the winter season.