Srinagar: The ongoing communication blockade has severely hit the fire and emergency services in Kashmir.
For the last four weeks, property worth lakhs of rupees have been reduced to ashes as fire tenders could not reach the spot on time to douse the flames due to the communication gag in Kashmir.
Data reveals that Kashmir witnessed 55 incidents of fire in the last three weeks. Of which, 17 were reported from Srinagar city alone causing huge loss to the property.
Sources said Fire and Emergency Services Department remained inaccessible in the wake of communication blockade since August 5.
Officials at Fire and Emergency Services Department, however, expressed helplessness over the issue.
“It’s highly unfortunate that we are unable to visit the spots on time given the communication blockade. The time in which the major damage to structures can be controlled is called the golden period. With no communication links, this golden period was lost in most of the incidents. Presently we reach the spot after 40 to 60 minutes after the incident and that too when somebody approaches us,” said a senior official, wishing not to be named.
Citing an example of fire mishap at Alochi Bagh, the official said they could not reach the spot on time to douse the fire because of the communication blockade. “With the result the property was completely destroyed although the area is only few hundred meters away from our main headquarters,” he said.
Fire and Emergency Services Department has written to the government requesting the restoration of landline phones and create hotlines in the police control room.
“The access to essential services especially Fire and Emergency Services Department should be restored at the earliest lest the loss of life and property will increase manifold,” he said.
All communications systems including landlines, mobiles and internet have been suspended in Kashmir since August 5, when Article 370 and 35A were scrapped and the state was divided into two union territories.