Communication gag hits fire fighting ops in Kashmir

Communication gag hits fire fighting ops in Kashmir

Residents drive along a busy road in Srinagar. AFP file photo

The ongoing communication gag has hit fire fighting operations in Kashmir as 118 fire stations across the Valley having no phone connectivity.

According to a local newspaper report, from August 5 to August 20, around 50 fire incidents were reported from across Kashmir which resulted in a loss of property worth crores. Quoting an example, the report says, a shop suffered damages worth Rs 2.50 crore in a fire incident in Kadi Kadal area of old city Srinagar.

Before the communication blockade, the Fire and Emergency Services Department’s control room used to receive calls on designated 101 helpline number and within minutes fire tenders from nearest station would rush to the spot.

However, an official of the Department said, as all phone lines have been snapped since August 4 night, they are not receiving any ‘fire calls.’

“We receive information about fire incidents through running callers. People come physically to inform us about fire incidents and it results in loss of crucial time to save infrastructure,” he said.

On Wednesday, reporters had raised this issue with governor Satya Pal Malik during his presser in Srinagar. However, the official said, as of now the landline telecommunication services of all the fire stations in Kashmir are defunct.

“Another impediment that hampers the fire dousing operations was barricades erected on different roads, which is making it difficult for fire tenders to reach the spot in time through shortest possible route,” he added.