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Fire destroys Tibetan shops in Ambala

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Damaged winter clothes due to fire at Ambala Tibetan market on Friday (Photo/Tibet Times)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 21: At least ten shops in the erstwhile Tibetan refugee market has been destroyed due to fire around 3.30 am on Friday in the city of Ambala in Haryana state. There are no reported injuries or casualties as all three people on night duty were able to escape the fire although heavy loss is being claimed by shop owners.

Ambala Tibetan market president Sonam said that severe losses are to be expected, as all winter commodities stocked for sale, along with trunks or boxes of cash have been lost in the fire. “Almost 99% of the market has completely burnt. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to sell our goods for almost two years and many goods were left which are all burnt now,” Sonam told VOA service.

Tenzin Passang, President of Tibetan Sweater Seller Association told VOA, “We are in the process of investigating how the fire broke out and then we will discuss how to ask for relief funds for those who are affected.” The reports suggested that the said market used to have over 20 shops, but due to the pandemic, only ten shops were able to come to Ambala for business this year.

As per reports, there are two Tibetan run markets in Ambala, one in the city and another at a cantonment. The one in the city has been affected by this massive fire. The videos released by media houses showed damaged winter clothes and burnt cash in one of the trunks in the market. The majority of Tibetans living in India are dependent on the seasonal winter businesses in cities across the country.

During the last few years ravaged by the pandemic, many families refrained from winter business for the fear of their health or due to restrictions imposed by authorities. Earlier this month, a Tibetan market in Jamshedpur was forced to shut down due to spike in Covid-19 cases among the workers. In November 2016, 138 shops at Lal Qila in New Delhi witnessed the same fate after a massive fire engulfed the entire market.

One Response

  1. Fire destroyed Tibetan markets and disappointed owners. However, I saw one Non-government NGO that was TYC met victims and hand over cheque to express their support in need. Many Tibetans from various countries expressed their concern through Facebook and willing to donate but waiting for reliable venue. Are there other organizations working for them ? Is there any problem for working on behalf of them? Is CTA met anyone of them or their leaders?

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