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Kashmir University ignored calls for fire safety audit of campus

Srinagar, Feb 23: Amidst frequent incidents of fire, Kashmir University has been ignoring the calls from the Fire Safety and Emergency Department (F&ES) for safety audit of its structures.
Almost two fire incidents took place in the varsity this month.
On Thursday evening, a major portion of Zabarwan Guest House at Naseem Bagh was damaged in fire.
Kashmir University, in a statement, said the fire started as a result of electric short circuit.
A fortnight ago, a cafe in the same vicinity also caught fire.
In the last one decade, several fire incidents have taken place in the campus, the one in the boys’ hostel being the major among them: in 2009, Sheikh-ul-Alam Boys Hostel, one of the oldest buildings in the University of Kashmir, was gutted in the fire.
Yet, the authorities have been neglecting the requirement for a fire safety audit of its buildings.
Earlier this year, an order was issued by the Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction to all the Deputy Commissioners to ensure safety audit of major lifeline buildings.
It included important offices, hospitals, shopping mall centres schools, colleges and universities within their districts and ensure their fire safety audit.
The Fire and Emergency Department claims that it has been directing the university authorities in the varsity to conduct safety audits.
Deputy Director, Fire and Emergency Service Department, (FE&S) Muhammad Akbar Dar told The Kashmir Monitor that the university administration have been ignoring their pleas to conduct fire safety audit of their various structures.
“I wrote to registrar KU back in 2017 in the month of March for conducting safety audit. But they didn’t reply and only after a month then its Shiekh-ul-ALam Boys Hostel caught fire. Since then, in 2012 or 2013, I have been writing to them, but they haven’t shown any positive response till now,” he said.
Dar however, said that the university had not enough fire safety measures in place to combat any such calamity in future.
“I had to use 12 fire tenders yesterday to douse the fire. There was only one fire extinguisher, which, too, was outdated,” he said.
Joint Director FE&S said that the university too was lacking ample water sources to deal with such incidents.
“Dal Lake is only source of water, but it is too far. They need to take extraordinary measures to keep their structures safe in future,” he said.
Public Relations Officer at Kashmir University, Faheem Aslam, said a committee headed by Professor MS Bhat has been set up to do fire safety audit of the campus.
The committee has been asked to submit its report within one week.
“No fire safety audit has been done in the campus so far. We convened a high level meeting in this regard. Hopefully, we will put the required fire safety measures in place including an audit,” Islam said.