2 houseboats gutted

Tourists rescued safe


Srinagar, Oct 31: With the government failing to provide requisite firefighting services for houseboats in the City waterbodies, two of the boats floating in Jhelum were gutted last night.
 Loyality and Hindustan houseboats catering to the tourists were reduced to cinder on the Bund banks in the rare of plush Residency Road.
 The houseboat owners said property worth lakhs of rupees was gutted in the incident which claimed their livelihood.
 The Maharashtrian tourists putting up in the boats were rescued by the timely intervention of the locals.
 “The houseboat owners and other locals gave preference to save the life of tourists than the boats,” said former President Houseboat Owners Association, Muhammad Azim Tuman, while consoling the affected families.
 Dilip Bhai, a tourist from Pune said the locals pooled money and clothing for his return to home.
 “I am really thankful of Kashmiri people who helped me even during these testing times,” he said.
 The river dwellers said by the time the firefighters arrived it was too late to save the houseboats.
 This is the second fire at houseboats in the past around a month.
 Ghulam Nabi Gagroo of Dal lake was the previous fire victim whose –houseboat White Horse –was gutted.
 Pertinently the houseboat owners in the City water bodies, particularly the Dal and the Nigeen lakes have been demanding a “credible fire system in place.”
 But the fact is that while there’s mere one firefighting station equipped with motor boats dedicated to the Dal and Nigeen lakes spanning over 30 odd square kilometers, the Jhelum and Tchuntu Kul have no such facilities.
 This, observers said, has jeopardized the houseboat industry, a key attraction to Kashmir for tourists from world over.
 Meanwhile, the District development Commissioner Meraj Ahmed Kakroo visited the affected area and assured of assistance, which as per witnesses included, allotment of plots for the affected families. The President Houseboat Owners Association, Manzoor Ahmed Wangnoo hailed the endeavor.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 1 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST

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