Relatives grieve loss of loved ones in Karol Bagh fire

Updated: Nov 20, 2018, 09:40 IST | PTI

Inside, workers used to clean, iron and pack suits and other kids' wears, Jaluthria added. The building was inside a very narrow lane where even a four wheeler cannot enter properly

Fifty five-year-old Bagan Prasahad, who was among the victims in the central Delhi fire tragedy on Monday, was eagerly preparing for his daughter's wedding and had been shopping for her big day, relatives said. Four people died in the fire at an illegal workshop in a congested central Delhi locality after one of the workers, a heavily-built man, got stuck at the exit door while escaping and blocked the route for others, firefighters said. Prasahad had booked tickets to visit his family in Deoria, in Uttar Pradesh.

"He was eagerly waiting to visit his family in Deoria. He was supposed to leave for his hometown on December 2 via the Vaishali Express. He had fixed his daughter Nandini's marriage and had even shopped for her big day," Mohan Lal, relative and roommate of the deceased, said. Inderpal, father of another deceased, Aarti, got to know about the fire from an official of the firm.

"I had come to Karol Bagh to pay instalments for a property that I bought sometime ago in Faridabad. Just then I got a call from a lady official from the firm saying my daughter was unwell," he said. "I rushed to the factory to enquire. But police officials were not letting me in. I could see ambulances and bodies being shifted. I was shocked and nervous," Inderpal said. He said he did not even have the money to go to the hospital.

"A media person at the spot gave me Rs 200 and I rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital," he added. Aarti has been working in the company as a supervisor for nearly a year now and she used to live in an accommodation provided by the company. "Since we stay in DDA flat Vivek Vihar, it was difficult for my daughter to commute. For the last four to five months, Aarti was living at an accommodation provided by the company," Inderpal continued. Aarti has three sisters and a brother. "My girl was very hardworking. I insisted her to get married but she refused, saying she wants to stand on her feet first and fulfil her dreams," the bereaved father said. Mohan Lal said Prasahad and he left for work at 10 am as any other day.

"One of our friends, Kapoor Chand, visited us. We had tea together and left for work at 10 am. I never imagined that it would turn out to be our last meeting. I just can't believe that Prasahad is no more," he added. Prasahad used to earn around Rs 16,000 per month and had been working in the company for nearly 30 years. He started with just Rs 400 per month, Lal added. He was the sole bread-winner of his family and his six children stare at a future of despair after his death in the Karol Bagh fire, one of his relatives said. Prasahad's cousin Umesh said he received a call regarding the incident and reached the spot.

"After reaching the workshop, initially, nobody was ready to tell me the condition of my cousin. However, police said that he had been shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Later, I got a call saying he passed away," he said. Prasahad is survived by his 90-year-old mother, wife and six children, including a mute son. Three of his daughters are married while his son is unemployed.

"He was planning to meet his family next month at his daughter's wedding as the workshop employees get two months' holiday every year," the cousin added. Prasahad's relatives were also informed. Some of them will be reaching Delhi by Tuesday, he said. The fire broke out at around 12.23 pm. Parmanand Jaluthria (43), a local, said he heard cries of women from inside the workshop and saw dense smoke emanating from it.

"The 700 square feet five-storey building was built around 25 to 30 years ago. It has only one exit gate. On the first floor, the pressing workshop was placed while on other floors, there were other small factories," Jaluthria said. The market used to be closed on Mondays but the workshop takes its weekly off on Sundays. Inside, workers used to clean, iron and pack suits and other kids' wears, Jaluthria added. The building was inside a very narrow lane where even a four wheeler cannot enter properly. The fire broke out at the backside of the first floor, Jaluthria said.

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