Baramulla, December 13: Even as the fire incidents across the Valley is swelling with each passing day, the minor fire incident in Baramulla town to Nowshera village of the district can turn into a devastating blaze as the Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) department has utterly failed to set up their service stations in almost 100 villages.
What else could be the official apathy as the properties of villagers living in almost 100 villages are being put at risk? In areas from main town Baramulla to Nowshera village, the F&ES has set up only two service stations at Uri and Baramulla that serve over 100 villages with a population of nearly 50 thousand people.
The service stations usually fail to prevent the properties of people from massive damage and they fail to reach the spot on time while locals allege that some incidents remain unattended.
The department has utterly failed to cater the fire incidents since the area is vast and becomes impossible to reach the spot on time, officials said. Uri, town with a population of more than 50 thousand people from nearly 95 villages, has only one fire service station with just one fire engine, the residents said.
Reports reaching KNO reveal that, only one fire service station was established in late 80s since then no other service station is established elsewhere, hence most of the fire incidents go unattended.
An official within the department told KNO that it is hard to cater the fire incidents in these far flung areas since “we fail to reach the spot as we need to cover a huge area.” “We have only one vehicle here in the station granted by the Army, so every time, we try our best to reach the spot, some time, we reach the spot but late, but couldn’t prevent the properties of people from a massive damage,” he said.
“In case the fire engulf at two places at a time, we will surely not be able to douse one among them as the department has only one fire tender,” he added.
The residents including the fire victims said that the department has every time failed to reach the spot on time. “In most of the cases, a little fire incidents turned into a devastated blaze.
The government has failed to provide adequate service stations in the far flung areas,” a fire victim told KNO.
They said that a fire incident happened in the recent past in the year 2016, when a Jamia Masjid in Bijhama area swallowed fire, the department arrived late till the whole structure tuned into ashes. Due to failure of concerned department, unattended fire incidents were reported in Nowshera Boniyar area of Baramulla district, where in the year 2009, a fire incident engulfed nearly 23 residential houses when fire engines reached late, the residents said.
“Similar kind of incidents were reported in the year 2014 and 2018, when reportedly due to lack of nearby fire service station, all the structures there damaged fully in both the incidents,” they said to KNO. In charge Service Station Uri, Shabir Ahmad Parrey told KNO that the government should establish more five fire service stations so that they could easily cater the whole areas including Mohra, Chandanwari, Boniyar Nowshera and Gantamulla .
“We serve as per our capability since the area to cater is vast and we fail to cover the areas, resulting in late arrivals to the spot incidents,” Parrey said. Similar fire incidents happened in main town Boniyar, when four residential houses were gutted in fire due to the late arrival of fire tenders and another incident in current year when power grid station swallowed fire, social activist, Rashid Latief Mir told KNO.
He said that most of times the residents beg other civil departments and PHE department to cater the fire incidents due to the late arrival of fire tenders. Alike is the Baramulla’s fire and emergency station where officials grieve of manpower and more serving stations to cater the whole area.
Fire Service Station Baramulla In charge, Irshad Ahmad Shah told KNO that the situation becomes always hard to cater with only four fire tenders and due to shortage of manpower in the station.“We have several times written to the higher department officials to establish more fire service stations so that the department would be able to cater the fire incidents rapidly,” Shah said.
He suggested that the government should provide fire stations in areas including Sheeri, Malpora, Lassdora and pehlipora, so that the fire tenders on time arrival could be able to control fire. Joint Director Fire and Emergency department, Bashir Ahmad Shah told KNO that they have informed the government in this regard and have urged them to provide fire service station in Boniyar area of Baramulla district.
“Hopefully, the department will establish the service station in Boniyar soon,” Shah said.(KNO)