Accidental fire destroys 13 huts in Chitpadi2 min read
Udupi: Thirteen huts, belonging to construction workers hailing from northern parts of Karnataka, were burnt down in Chitpadi, Udupi on April 20. There were no casualties, and the cause of the fire remains unknown.
The incident occurred at around 10:00 am, when most residents were working. Five of the 13 houses were empty as the families were visiting their native places. Two children were at the scene when the fire broke out, both were safe from harm. The fire department was alerted about the incident by the neighbours. They arrived at the scene immediately, and doused the flames before it spread.
The houses were made with materials that were extremely susceptible to fire, causing the families to lose all their belongings, including bicycles, official documents, licenses and gold ornaments. Most of the residents were living in the same compound for nine years. Sabbalahunasi Ramappa, one of the victims, lost around Rs. 30,000, in addition to valuables such as anklets and gold jewellery. The victims are currently living in the homes of other labourers from the same compound.
Pramodh Madhwaraj, the President of the Udupi Block Youth Congress visited the victims, giving each family a compensation of Rs. 2500. He told TMJ, “It is an unfortunate incident. In case of such a mishap, the government cannot compensate but they definitely have our help and support.”
The construction workers were also visited by MLA K. Raghupathy Bhat. When asked about the compensation for the victims he said, “I have directed the DC office to pay some amount as compensation for their loss. But there are no provisions for this, as they live in private land.”
Ratna, who hails from Bagalkot, said that she was at work when the incident occurred. She described the events saying, “The children came and told me what had happened. By the time I got here, there was nothing much that could be done. I had taken out my money and some jewellery from my workplace, where I usually keep them. We lost everything we had.” She added, “We have informed the other families about the incident. As of now, we’ll stay here, but a decision can be made only after they come back. It is nobody’s fault, it was unfortunate.”
Sub-edited by Bhavani Seetharaman