The fire inspectorate of Mastchoh district in Sughd province has determined that a massive fire that occurred at the cotton-ginning factory in Mastchoh district last month was caused by arson.  Criminal proceedings have been instituted and an investigation is under way.    

Head of the fire unit of Mastchoh district, Nematjon Idizoda, told Asia-Plus Wednesday afternoon that the real damage caused to the factory by the fire has been estimated at 46 million somonis (equivalent to 4.72 million U.S. dollars).

The fire reportedly covered an area of 450 square meters destroying 1,100 tons of cotton fiber.  Firefighters managed to save only 400 tons of cotton fiber, according to Idizoda. 

Muzaffar Co. Ltd, which is one of the largest cotton ginneries in the northern province of Sughd, is owned by local entrepreneur Salim Mirzoyev.

During the investigation, Mr. Mirzoyev has repeatedly refused to communicate with journalists.  

The Sughd fire department has not yet commented on the incident.  

An official source with the Mastchoh district administration earlier told Asia-Plus that the company owner had applied to the local authorities asking to grant him tax breaks.  

288 cotton-growing farms had reportedly delivered their raw cotton to that cotton-ginning factory. 

The fire broke out at the mentioned cotton ginnery a few days after the building materials market “Barakat” in Sughd province caught fire.  

Recall, a massive fire broke out at the cotton ginning factory in Mastchoh district on November 25 at around 2:30 am.

20 firefighter crews were sent to the fire site and they reportedly managed to extinguish the fire in more than six hours.