By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 9: The Central Tibetan Administration has sanctioned a fund package of 15 lakh INR for the immediate reconstruction of the Tibetan refugee market in Lal-Qila area in the Indian capital. Alongside multiple funds gathering platforms initiated by NGO’s and individuals has also come up since the tragedy struck on early hours of Tuesday.
“Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay who has taken a personal initiative in the relief efforts, expressed profound sadness over the incident. Sikyong assured that the Central Tibetan Administration will do its best to provide support for the Tibetan shopkeepers,” CTA run Tibet.net mentioned earlier today.
Tibetan Youth Congress, considered the largest non-governmental organization also released a sum of 1 lakh INR for relief efforts as well as urging its member base and common Tibetans to contribute for help towards the affected Tibetans traders. TYC has set up an emergency relief fund platform where members can donate to its chapter heads. Tibet Fund has also set up an online portal to collect donations. Individuals and groups have set up crowd sourcing and funding platforms such as ‘gofundme’ accounts to source aid for the 138 shop owners.
A fire broke out around wee hours of Tuesday resulting in the collapse of temporary structures and the burning of goods in them, mostly readymade winter garments. The leader of the market association confirmed to Phayul that the fire has burned through the entirety of the commodities stocked for sale. “Approximately 12 crore worth of goods have been incinerated to ash. Furthermore, the preparation of the market itself incurred a lot of cost. We have shifted to this market after the previous one was no longer available for lease.”
Local Indians have also expressed solidarity by providing meals for the victims who are gathering to clean the market where only iron sheets and ash remain.
The traders hope to set up shop at the earliest to recover some amount of money to pay off debtors and wholesalers who give goods in advance to the Tibetan traders on goodwill. Victims have urged Delhi government as well as the central Indian government for assistance.
Currently there 146 Tibetan markets in various cities and towns of India registered with the Tibetan Sweater Sellers’ Association. Family run small scale businesses of the Tibetan refugees which constitute a major income source for the Tibetan refugee demographic are heavily reliant on unpredictable factors. Erratic seasons coupled with fluctuating sale patterns and unidentifiable factors indicate the hand-to mouth traders now face a stark reality even when sale seasons go without devastating mishaps.