Mysterious fire at Sangarmaal exposes defunct firefighting system

Shopkeepers demand Vigilance probe

SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI

Srinagar, Sep 6: A mysterious blaze at Sangarmaal last night, which left a shop gutted, exposed the allegedly defunct firefighting system at the plush mall inaugurated in 2010 amid much of hype about its “state-of-the-art infrastructure”
 Witnesses said at around 11:00 PM fire erupted from Shop No 212 in the first floor of the three-storey plaza triggering panic among the shopkeepers who rushed to the spot.
 But to their shock, the hi-tech firefighting mechanism, as was assured at the time of inauguration, didn’t function nor did even the hydrants pinned in the building.
 The shopkeepers said the fire was extinguished by the timely action of the firefighters and others who rushed to the spot.
 “On finding the automatic firefighting system defunct, we rushed to use the hydrants mounted on the mall, but to our shock even that didn’t work,” said a shopkeeper who runs Shagun, a prominent garment store at the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) owned mall.
 The shopkeepers said the fire was mysterious as it erupted from the shop, which is yet to commissioned, remains closed and has no power connectivity.
 “How did the fire erupt from such a spot and why wasn’t the system working?” the shopkeepers said.
 The Sangarmaal Shopkeepers Welfare Association President Manzoor Ahmed accused the government in general and SDA in particular of breach of trust.
 “All what the government promised us at the time of  auctioning space in Sangarmaal and subsequent allotment has proved a hoax,” Manzoor said.
 He accused the government of having used substandard material in construction of the mall. “From electric wiring to sanitary pipes to escalators all has proved messy while the defunct firefighting mechanism has proved the last nail in the coffin of this almost dead mall,” he said adding “government remained callous towards Sangarmaal affairs.”
 “We had not procured these shops out of any black money. We paid everything in white while the returns have proved black because of the blacksheep within the helm,” he said seeking a Vigilance probe into the matter.
 When contacted an SDA official said: “Most  of the un-auctioned shops in Sangarmaal City Centre are being used by the shopkeepers as illegal go-downs, and store inflammable goods there.” He said SDA has now decided to get all such shops vacated and seal the same.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST




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