The rise in the number of fire incidents in the Kashmir valley is alarming and needs immediate attention from the government and the concerned authorities.

A report claims “From building norms to safety standards applicable to residential properties, fire safety standards pertaining to electrical and mechanical systems, fire safety standards for commercial set-ups and offices – there is a lot that is being ignored by the authorities.”

It cites certain incidents, “In yet another unfortunate fire incident yesterday, four residential houses got partially damaged in Nundresh Colony A in Bemina area of Srinagar. Last week also eight shops were gutted in a massive inferno in Barmulla district causing loss of millions of rupees to the shopkeepers. This steady increase in the number of fire incidents depicts the grim picture about the safety of people and their property.”

While fire accidents are not peculiar to the valley and happen frequently in all parts of the country. The common thread is the apathy and ignorance of not just common people but safety related personnel and politicians too who do not respect even NBC basics on fire safety. There is little scope for quick corrective methods or course correction of flawed policies.

Stipulated and established fire prevention and exigency protocols are largely ignored by the authorities. While there is no dearth of fire stations in the valley there is the criminal absence of a suitable policy on prevention of fire hazards in the UT. With building/housing norms rejected conveniently due to the absence of strong legislation on the subject, there is little the department can do. What is all the more painful is that many important government and public service institutions are highly ill equipped to prevent or fight fires.



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