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14 shops gutted at Railway Junction area fire in Siliguri

Darjeeling: Fourteen shops were totally gutted in a devastating fire at the Railway Junction area in Siliguri on Monday.

However, the area had a close shave with the presence of a petrol pump within a 100 metre distance from the site of the fire. The fire was controlled before it could reach the pump.

The fire broke out opposite the Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus around 3 am. "The fire started spreading rapidly. The fire brigade was called. Fire tenders arrived at the spot within 10 minutes of being informed," said Sanjay Pathak, local TMC leader.

Three fire tenders were pressed into service. The fire was controlled at around 4 am. "The exact cause of the fire is not known yet, however it could have been caused from a gas cylinder from one of the eateries," said a fire official.

The shops destroyed in the fire include eateries, salons, mobile recharge shops. The shops were made of wood, tin and not concrete structures. They were built on PWD land and do not possess any valid documents.

"There were gas cylinders in the eateries which further fueled the fire," said Gopal Das a local shop keeper.

Tourism Minister Goutam Deb visited the affected shops. The Minister assured to pay the affected businessmen Rs. 25,000 each from his personal and TMC coffers.

"On Tuesday we will hold talks with the affected businessmen. I will also talk to the SJDA to see if we can provide some sort of relief to them. We will also try to find a way in which the shops and be rebuilt and regularized," stated Deb.

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