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Pahalgam inferno: Fire tenders arrived too late
PAHALGAM, Nov 26: The families affected by the devastating blaze in this village of tourist spot Pahalgam today alleged that the late arrival of fire fighters in the village caused more devastation.

At least 37 residential houses, four cowsheds and three shops gutted in a devastating blaze on Saturday night in Frislana village. The fire destroyed property worth crores. Dozens of cattle, horses and other domestic animals also perished.

The affected families today accused the fire fighters of causing delay in reaching the spot. “The fire broke out at 00.30 AM and soon after the fire broke out we informed the fire service station Pahalgam. However, they came at around 2.00 PM, one and half hour late.

After reaching the spot they failed to operate the motor immediately. Due to some technical snag in motor it took them nearly half an hour to operate the motor and start dousing the fire,” said Sarpanch of the village, Abdul Khaliq.

He said that had the fire fighters reached in time the damage would been lessened to a great extent. “By the time they arrived the blaze had engulfed all the neighboring houses. Number of houses could have been saved if the fire services people would have arrived soon after being informed,” said another resident Ghulam Nabi.

Meanwhile, the locals whose houses did not suffer any damage in the inferno have started langar for the affected families. All the three hundred affected people are served both lunch and dinner at the langar. “Since the langar has been started by locals the local administration is also extending all the possible help. We have been provided five quintals of rice by the admin only this morning. Besides this we have collected the rice from every safe household,” said a local.

Though the government, army and some NGOs are distributing relief among the victims and have also erected tents for the affected people but the families demand that the government should do something for their permanent shelter immediately. “We can not sleep in the tents outside all the winter. If it snows we will land in more trouble. We appeal the government to do something for our permanent shelter before it snows. Though we have been provided with 10 thousand rupees yesterday but that is not enough. We can not build houses out of this amount,” said the affected people.

However, Tehsildar, Pahalgam, Mohammad Yousuf Mir, who is supervising the relief work in the village, said that they have forwarded the list of the families whose houses gutted to the rural development department for grant of IAY huts.

“Within weeks time the money for the construction of huts will be released in their favour,” he said. He said that they have also distributed tin sheets, warm clothes, blankets, towels and bedding among the fire victims,” Tehsildar said. Meanwhile chief minister, Omar Abdullah, today visited the village and expressed sympathy with the fire victims.

Reports said that the chief minister told the affected families that everything possible will be done to rehabilitate them. “Since code of conduct is in force I can not make any announcement but the deputy commissioner has been asked to take all the possible measures for your rehabilitation,” the chief minister has told the affected families.

Though the government has erected many tents in the locality for the night accommodation of the victims but the locals arrange the accommodation for them in their own houses. “Since it is a harsh cold outside and spending night in the tent won’t be easy in these chilly nights. So we have decided to adjust the affected people in our own houses. We can not afford to see the fire victims sleep in the tents outside. We are here to help them in the time of crisis,” said a group of locals.
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News Updated at : Monday, November 26, 2012
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