Friday morning (14 June) brought bad news for Ludhiana’s textile and apparel industry as a major fire erupted in three knitting units incurring huge losses. The fire started at 3 AM in the morning in the premises of a garment unit at Shivpuri on Noorwala Road, which immediately spread to two nearby units.
Though the cause of the fire is yet to be known, it has been told that all three units did not have any fire safety arrangements, which caused delay in extinguishing the fire. As the fire was of high intensity, the buildings have developed cracks and there is now the risk of these buildings falling down.
Around 80 fire tenders were used to douse the fire. Few workers who were inside the unit at the time of the incident managed to rush out of the factory in time. There are no reports of casualties so far. Reportedly, since the factories are in residential area, people were evacuated from their homes till the fire was doused.
Ludhiana is one of the main clusters of knitted garment manufacturing. With more than 10,000 textile-based units and annual business of Rs. 15,000 crore, the city is also home to some of the well-known fashion brands and top export units. However, a large segment of the industry remains unorganised.
What is striking is that compared to India’s all other textile and apparel hubs, Ludhiana has faced more such fire incidents. The question is why is it happening so frequently in Ludhiana.
Apparel Resources asked this to Vinod Thapar, President, Knitwear and Textile Club, Ludhiana who is a veteran of the city’s textile industry and is active there since last four decades.
“To the best of my knowledge, preferring cheap and low-cost equipment, lack of highly trained and professional electricians and attitude of owners are the reasons for higher numbers of fire incidents in Ludhiana. Apart from few, most of the entrepreneurs don’t come forward even if any association takes any initiative to improve the industry,” he said.