DUSHANBE, August 21, 2008, Asia-Plus  -- Investigation to determine the cause of an August 13 fire on Dushanbe’s Korvon market and the actual volume of damage, caused by the fire, is still underway, according to the main firefighting directorate within the Ministry of Interior (MoI).  

 Officers from the firefighting service say that contradictory evidences of witnesses and fire-affected entrepreneurs are impeding the investigation.  

As it had been reported earlier, the fire broke out on Dushanbe’s largest merchandise market, Korvon, on August 13 early in the morning, at around 1:00 a.m.  The fire destroyed an area of 2,100 square meters.  Fortunately, no casualties were reported.   Entrepreneurs working with the market said that the fire had destroyed some 60 containers and two warehouses, causing damage for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On August 15, some 200 entrepreneurs that were affected by the fire appealed to President Emomali Rahmon.  In an open letter released to the president, the entrepreneurs, in particular, claimed that the Korvon market fire had been arson and their commodities stored in special containers and warehouses had been stolen by unknown persons before the fire.

The letter notes that electricity supplies to the market are cut off every day at 4:00 p.m., and therefore, the fire could not be caused by an electrical malfunction.

 The entrepreneurs asked the president to order the relevant agencies to thoroughly investigate into the incident.  They also asked the president for assistance with solving the issue of rehabilitation of their shops and exempting them from paying taxes during two years.  

“Over the past two year, several fires have occurred at the market; however, those to blame for the fires have not been detected and no distinct explanations of reasons for the fires have been given,” one of the entrepreneurs, Ms. Mahina Umarova said in an interview with Asia-Plus.