Saturday 21 April 2018

Fire tears through Mumbai showcase event

The blaze broke out during a Make in India Week event in Mumbai (AP)
The blaze broke out during a Make in India Week event in Mumbai (AP)

A massive fire has raged at an event in Mumbai meant to showcase India as an attractive destination for billions in foreign investment.

There were no casualties and the week-long Make in India event was not cancelled.

Nevertheless the incident is being viewed as an embarrassment for the government because the event is among prime minister Narendra Modi's most ambitious economic initiatives and aims at making the country a manufacturing hub on par with neighbouring China.

Video showed the fire blazing at the base of the elaborate stage as dancers performed at a cultural extravaganza to celebrate the event.

The fire later spread as the scaffolding caught fire and flames could be seen rising into the sky above the city, formerly known as Bombay.

Mr Modi had inaugurated the event on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire and the government has ordered an investigation.

Senior government members and Bollywood stars were evacuated soon after the fire broke out. Leading actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted that he had ended his own performance and left the venue shortly before the fire started.

In India, safety norms are routinely flouted. When big, public events are organised, it is not unusual to find dangerously low-hanging electricity cables or just a single fire engine and an ambulance on stand-by.

Press Association

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