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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

300 files gutted in civil secretariat fire, probe ordered

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, July 11, 2013
First Published: 10:18 IST(11/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:53 IST(11/7/2013)

The government on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the mysterious fire that gutted a building in Srinagar's civil secretariat, destroying 300 files.

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The mysterious fire was noticed around 9:30 am in a two-storeyed building on the premises of the civil secretariat just around the time when it opens. The all-wood structure is just behind the main secretariat complex.

Around two-dozen fire tenders reached to the spot only after the fire had engulfed the two-storeyed building, mainly built of wood.

The complex housing important departments like director general of accounts and treasuries, cooperative, higher education, revenue, vice-chairman of Gujjar and Bakerwal advisory was razed to the ground within an hour.

It took a couple of hours for the fire workers to save the nearby structures. Four workers of the fire and emergency services received injuries while battling the blaze.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah, whose office is in the main secretariat building, was quick to tweet on the incident: "We've had a fire in the annexe of the secretariat housing the offices of technical education, higher education, forest, accounts and treasuries."

Later, in the day, Abdullah inspected the gutted block. "The CM gave directions for putting in place emergent measures to save the retrieved records and to house the gutted offices,"said a government spokesman.

The records of at least six government departments, a dispensary and four CRPF guardrooms have been destroyed in the fire.

The secretary, general administration department, has been asked to complete the inquiry into the fire incident.

Many smell foul play in the incident and demand a thorough probe. "A conspiracy to bury some important official records cannot be ruled out by those miscreant elements in the administration who can go to any extent for their vested interests,"alleged legislator Engineer Rashid, who heads the Awami Ittihaad Party.

The MLA said the fire incident has raised several serious questions regarding the government's efficiency to deal with such situations. "Though the fire and emergency services department did utilise its all machinery and manpower but lack of modern equipments made their efforts go a waste,"said Rashid.

Blaze a Zum Zum Complex

Srinagar: A fire broke out in Srinagar's Zum Zum complex, which houses various government offices, on Thursday afternoon. There is no official confirmation on the extent of damage to the building with around 100 rooms. The government officials could neither ascertain the cause of the fire nor the extent of damage.


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