News and Views on Tibet

Fire in Jodhpur Tibetan Market Destroys 17 Shops

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Dharamshala November 11 – In what turned out to be a tragic beginning of their winter business for the Tibetans trading sweaters in western Indian town of Jodhpur, 17 Tibetan shops in the town’s Tibetan sweater sellers’ market have been burnt to ashes yesterday due to a fire that broke out last evening. The exact cause of the fire is not known. There are over 90 shops in the market.

According to Nima Tsering who talked to the Voice of Tibet radio service, the fire has affected about 17 shops and the total loss is estimated to be around thirty lakh rupees.

The local authorities are yet to investigate the damage and announce compensation but local newspapers have reported that the affected shops will be provided a relief of Rs.5000 each from the Indian government’s relief fund. It was also reported by a local newspaper that the town’s municipal committee has decided to provide relaxation of the rent for the market site for three months. However, no official confirmation was received about these by the Tibetans.

The Tibetans have been called to the district collector’s office this morning but little is known about the outcome of the meeting. Meanwhile, the Tibetan exile government’s department of home has decided to send an official to Jodhpur but has not yet decided on compensation or relief for the Tibetans.

Tashi Dolma, one of the victims of the fire, said that she could not still believe that the tragedy had struck her. “I don’t know what to say, it all happened so fast”.

She also said that it was particularly unfortunate since most of the affected shops were owned by poor Tibetans whose business entirely is dependent on loans from bank.

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