Srinagar, April 4(GNS): Seven houseboats and three sheds were gutted in a massive midnight fire in Nigeen Lake here on Monday, officials said.
They said fire started from a houseboat and engulfed adjacent ones. Though locals and police launched a firefighting operation but the houseboats were “substantially” gutted before the blaze was finally contained.
An official of the Fire and Emergency department told GNS that six fire tenders were rushed to spot as soon as news about the fire was received at around 2:26 a.m. He said fire was towards Nigeen Club of the lake. While there were no reports about injury to anyone in the incident, the loss as per locals was colossal.
“The fire started from one houseboat at around 2 a.m. and then spread to others,” said Raj Mohammad whose houseboat was also gutted in the devastating fire. “I have lost everything. I along with my wife used to put in this houseboat. This was my sources of livelihood. I am now shelter less and have nowhere to go. I have no support except for Allah,” Raj Mohammad said put the loss suffered by him to around Rs three crores. “I couldn’t even salvage the gold and other ornaments of my wife.”
Besides seven house boats, three shed were also gutted in the fire, the officials said. Cause was fire was being ascertained by the police, they added. The houseboats damaged include “Royal paradise, India palace, Jersey, Lily of the world, New Maharaja Palace, Young Swift and Flora.”
National Conference President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah expressed profound anguish over a massive night blaze in which seven houseboats were gutted in the Nigeen Lake.
While expressing sympathies with the affected, Dr Farooq prayed for fortitude at this difficult time. He prayed for the speedy revival of all the affected.
He asked the divisional administration to reach out to the affected with relief and compensation. “House boat owners are already reeling under economic slump. There is no way these people can carry the reconstruction on their own. It is therefore imperative for the government to step in with a helping hand in terms of subsidised wood, compensation, waving of pending electricity and water bills, and free ration for at least 6 months,” he added. (GNS)