Panic gripped vendors selling fire crackers as well as shoppers on Island Grounds on Friday morning, when a tube light emitted sparks. While stall owners immediately fled the place, fire rescue personnel stationed nearby and electricity board officials inspected the site and resolved the problem.
“Everyone is a little scared because this is the first time we are at a different location. The wiring should have been better,” said K. Abdul, another retailer.
The retailers say that one generator and the main switches situated outside the two blocks provide electricity to over 140 stalls on the ground. “All the stalls are interconnected. Each stall has three lights and two fans but only one pair works. Electricity board officials have asked us not to meddle with the wires, but what do we do when they don’t work?” asked another vendor.
Nearly 120 retailers, who have paid Rs. 40 lakh to the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, are operating stalls on Island Grounds this year, as per the Madras High Court order.
Fire extinguishers, buckets of sand and water have been kept outside every stall and Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services personnel and police officers are constantly on vigil.
“This is a new place so shop owners are a little worried because of unfamiliarity. Safety-wise, the place is much better as it used to take more than an hour for a fire engine to get into Bunder Street, where the vendors used to sell fire crackers until last year,” said a fire rescue official.