Building and machinery worth lakhs of rupees damaged

A major fire broke out at the Industrial Cooperative (INDCO) tea factory at Pandhalur, about 75 km from here, on Tuesday. No one was injured. The building and the machinery worth several lakhs of rupees were damaged.

A.S. Jaffry, Managing Director, INDCOSERVE, the apex body of the INDCO factories in the district, told The Hindu that the fire was noticed around 5 a.m. The machineries had been switched off and there was no one inside when the blaze broke out. It was extinguished by workers in the vicinity and fire and rescue services personnel from Gudalur. Though short circuit was suspected, the exact reason would be known only after the completion of investigation. The damage was being assessed by insurance and factory officials.

To a question, Mr. Jaffry said that production could be resumed within a month.

Pointing out that the total number of growers attached to the factory was about 2000, he said that owing to adverse weather the arrivals were not very high. Beginning Wednesday the raw leaves supplied by the members would be diverted to other INDCO factories.