Fires Engulf 400 Acres At 10 Places
Wheat crop in over 400 acres was gutted in a spate of fires that broke out today at 10 different villages in the district, causing immense financial losses to the farmers. A fire also broke out at a blanket manufacturing unit in the city. However, no loss of life was reported.
The residents have attributed these conflagrations to short circuits caused due to negligence of the Punjab State Electricity Board as well as oversight of the farmers. Crop in over 22 acres of land was damaged in Lohgarh village, near Rayya, while incidents of fire were also reported in villages, Lopoke, Chogawan and Sarhali, near Beas.
Meanwhile, a major tragedy was averted when Rattan Singh, a policeman spotted a blanket manufacturing unit near Islamabad on fire and informed the fire brigade. Sources said the residents were unable to get through to the fire tenders on the telephone and Singh approached the authorities personally.
They added that a majority of these fires were caused by short circuits with electrical sparks flying from the loose electricity wires. Dr Satnam Singh of Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, flaying the PSEB, said, "The electrical infrastructure has neither been changed nor repaired for several years." Fire chief Tarlochan Singh confirmed that a majority of the fires were caused due to short circuits, which were triggered by the old wires. He, however, said the cause of the inferno at the blanket manufacturing unit was not yet known and investigations were being held.
Notably, such incidents were reported a few days ago at Ajnala, Majitha, Sultanwind, Verka, Vallah and Ranike villages, where several acreswere gutted due to short circuits. Chief Engineer (Border Range) SJS Pal said precautionary measures were taken ahead of summer season. "But accidents took place despite our educating and warning our staff and the farmers," he added.