GUWAHATI, Aug 31 - A fire broke out at the Finance department of the State Secretariat at Dispur here this afternoon. A Cabinet meeting was going on at the Secretariat when the incident took place.
The fire broke out around�12.20 pm�at the chamber of the Finance Director (Budget) Purnendu Sarma located on the first floor of F Block. The fire damaged property like files, documents, computers and other hardware in the chamber and its adjoining rooms.
�Three fire-tenders were immediately pressed into service and the fire was doused in about 15 minutes,� a Secretariat security official said.
While prima facie the fire appeared to have broken out due to a short-circuit in the AC room, police said forensic tests and other investigations would be conducted into the incident.
The incident laid bare several lapses in the safety measures at the high-security Secretariat.
�The fire-tenders had great difficulty in reaching the site. Excessive vehicles parked inside the Secretariat created the problem for emergency services vehicle movement. There is a shortage of parking space and vehicles are parked all along the roads. There is no specific slot for visitors. Vehicle passes issued are much in excess of the parking space,� a security official said.
Sources also said a firm Seema Enterprise looks after the fire safety at the secretariat. They have two persons round the clock at the Secretariat, but police said they failed to act with the water hydrants. The firm is in AMC for a year and the work was outsourced to them by PWD.