55 structures gutted in Pahalgam inferno


Islamabad (Anantnag), Nov 25: At least 55 structures, including 46 residential houses, were gutted in a devastating fire that broke out early Sunday morning in Frislan village, 10 kms ahead, of world famous tourist resort of Pahalgam in this south Kashmir district.
 A major fire broke out in Frislan engulfing more than half of the village. “Forty six residential houses, four cowsheds, three shops, two Kotihars (granaries) were completely damaged in the blaze,” officials said.
 The houses, mostly made of wood, were completely gutted. Though, the officials are yet to ascertain the loss of livestock but reports said that over two dozen cattle, and horses, perished in the blaze. However, no loss of life was reported.
 “More than 17 fire tenders from different areas of the district were used to douse the fire. The cause of fire is being ascertained,” said an official.
 However, the residents said that the fire was caused by charcoal stored in one of the houses.
 “I had built this small house after toiling hard, but now it has been reduced to ashes,” said Ghulam Ahmad Sheikh whose house was completely damaged in the inferno.
 He said that he was the sole bread earner of his family consisting of his parents, wife and five children and has nowhere to go.

 Minster for Forests, Mian Altaf Altaf along with Minster of Social Welfare Sakina Yatoo, MLC Bashir Ahmad Veeri, MLA Pahalgam Rafi Ahmad Mir and NC leader Irfan Ahmad Kulru rushed to the village early in the morning. The Ministers assured the affected families of full assistance and rehabilitation. The officials from district administration along with senior police officials DIG (SKR), Vijay Kumar and SSP RK Jalla also rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue and relief operation.
 Rafi Ahmed Mir expressed deep sorrow over heavy loss of property and livestock.
 He announced relief from his Constituency Development Fund (CDF). He requested the civil society to come forward and help 46 families which have been rendered homeless in harsh winter season.
 President of the Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti also visited the village and expressed sympathies with the affected families.
 Speaking to Greater Kashmir, District Development Commissioner (DDC), Islamabad Farooq Ahmad Shah said, “At least 260 souls were affected in the inferno. Despite the inclement weather conditions fire tenders managed to douse the fire and prevent it from engulfing the entire village.”
 He said that he was personally monitoring the situation and Rs 10,000 from Red cross Aid and two month ration to each family has been provided as immediate relief.
 “The affected families are being temporarily accommodated and tents and CJI sheets have been provided to them for the time being and will be rehabilitated soon,” the DDC said, adding that houses under IAY scheme would be provided to them.”
 Meanwhile, the people of the adjoining villages were seen offering meals and accommodation to the affected families.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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