M A I N   N E W S

Fire in fields, 3 burnt alive
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 1
Three persons were burnt alive and at least 10 injured due to fires that engulfed agricultural fields in 50 villages of the Malwa belt of Punjab today.

The worst damage was in Muktsar where three persons lost their lives and four children received burns.

The fire spread from the fields where the farmers had burnt dry straw of wheat crop. However, the fire intnsified in these areas hit by a dust storm during the day.

In the Bathinda district, the worst damage was in the villages of Gairi-Butter, Jaisingh, Bangi Ragu and Deepa Bangi. Fire tenders were rushed from Bathinda and Dabwali to control the fire. The fire raged over area of 800 acres.

The farmers cried they had suffered huge loss due to the fire, as their crop had remained unharvested because of shortage of combine harvesters.

Deputy commissioner Rahul Tiwari, who rushed to the spot along with SSP Naunihal Singh, said partwaris had been asked to assess the damage within three days.

He said loss was not that high, as most of the farmers had harvested the crop and only the left -over straw got burnt as the fire due to strong wind in the area during the day. It is suspected some farmers might have set the residue on fire.

Reports said fire engulfed the fields in 12 villages of Abohar.

Binder Singh, who had injured his eyes while trying to extinguish fire in his three acres said the fire started from Jaisingh village and spread to Gairi-Butter within a few minutes. Residents of the surrounding villages rushed there in tractor trailers to control the fire.

Gurjant Singh cried the fire destroyed standing wheat crop on his 12 acres. More than 50 farmers of the village suffered loss of crop. However, the exact extent of damage would be known by the patwaris.

Makhan Singh, sarpanch, said the fire engulfed his 12-acres .Tiwari said damage to houses was prevented as the fire reached residential houses in the Bangi Ragu and Deepa Bangi villages. Firemen succeeded in preventing the fire spreading towards the residential areas.

Reports said about 20 acres of agriculture area was involved in fire in Sangat Kalan village near here. Fire accompanied by wind turned straw and stored wheat into ash on nearly 5,000 to 1 ,000 acres causing burns to three in Dabwali near here today.

Meanwhile, farm labourers Geeto Devi and her husband Veer Singh received 100 per cent and 50 per cent burns respectively. Doctors directed both of them to be shifted to PGI, Rohtak. While Nar Singh got 10 per cent burns when he rushed to save his children from fire.

Eyewitnesses said the fire was noticed in the late noon and billowing smoke could be seen from far away. People informed the authorities in the city. From Sukhera Khera fire spread to Aboobshahar, Lakhwana, Gidderkhera, Lambi and Ganga.

V. Umashankar,deputy Commissioner, said the fire entered here from Punjab, where some villages of Muktsar and Bathinda bore the burnt, and noticed it at 4 pm.

He informed apart from Sirsa fire tenders were called for support from Kalawali, Fatehabad, Hisar and neighbouring district of Rajasthan Hanumangarh. He said the fire was brought under control by 7:30 pm.

According to him as per rough estimate from 5000 to 10,000 acres was gutted and added on majority of the area harvest has already been completed. He said some stored or packaged wheat might have been burnt.



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