Kozhikode: A shock wave went through scores of shop owners at S.M. Street on Wednesday when they heard about the fire mishap at a textile shop. Luckily, the incident at Sangeeth Textiles turned out to be a minor one. There was no loss life or stock damage.
For the past decade, fire mishaps have become routine affair in this famed historical street. While authorities resort to temporary measures, no permanent solution has yet been formalised.
A major mishap occurred in April 2007 when the fire engulfed a fire cracker wholesale shop on MP Road, adjacent to SM Street, that claimed eight lives besides destroying 50 nearby shops.
The official probe found out high amount of crackers stored in the shop without stockist licence. In 2010, two fire mishaps were reported in which eight shops were gutted completely.
In May 2015 several shops were gutted in a late-night fire break-out from a textile shop which spread to the entire area close to Koyanco Bazar. Fifteen units of fire and rescue services from different fire stations were used to extinguish the fire.
The frequent incidents have been a serious concern for the traders and officials alike for over a decade.
“Authorities should come up with a concrete action plan to arrest the frequent mishaps. The traders will wholeheartedly cooperate with any such move without affecting our livelihood,” says T. Naseeruddin, state president of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti.
Meanwhile, fire and rescue service officials point out that a majority of the building in SM Street are old with wooden roof, many being used as godown to store highly inflammable materials.
“Many of the shops operate without proper electrification. Fire from electrical short circuits is a major headache,” said a fire and safety officer who requested anonymity.
A heritage project was envisioned by Kozhikode South MLA M.K. Muneer during his ministerial tenure, but was opposed by traders. “Revival of the SM Street was met with stiff resistance from many quarters. Many shops in the areas are mired in legal proceedings between the owners and the tenants,” said Mr Muneer....