SRINAGAR: Since January this year, property worth Rs 70 Cr has been gutted in a fire in Kashmir which is the highest since 2016, officials said.
As per the figures, available property worth over Rs 70 Crore has been damaged in various fire incidents across Kashmir highest after 2016 when the figure property worth Rs 87.41 crore was damaged. The data states that this year, Srinagar recorded the highest-ever fire calls at 384 followed by Baramulla at 252.
“In Srinagar, property worth 2,914.96 lakhs were damaged in the ensuing year in various fire-related incidents,” the figure suggests.
Meanwhile, Joint Director of Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) Kashmir Bashir Ahmed Shah said them since 2016, fire incidents have shown a tremendous dip across Kashmir. “Reasons are obvious that people use very less wood in the construction. Wooden roofs on first and second storeys of new houses have been replaced by concrete cemented slabs,” said Shah. He said that the final roofing is made of wood and overall there is concrete construction including walls etc of new houses.
Shah, however, said that downtown areas of Srinagar continue to remain vulnerable to fire incidents given congested localities and narrow lanes, which makes it difficult to manoeuvre for the firemen when it comes to a dousing of flames. He urged people across Kashmir, especially downtown not to call police stations in case of a fire incident and instead right away dial 101 and give the exact location of the incident site.
Replying to a query about the shortage of manpower in the F&ES department, the Joint Director said that after 700 employees were inducted in the department through recruitment in the year 2020, the shortage of manpower was addressed to a large extent but the shortage of officers remains. About the availability of new vehicles, he said even though the department procured some new vehicles while as world bank also provided some fire dousing vehicles, a majority of the vehicles available with the department are outdated and need to be replaced by the latest ones.