Majid Kapra

Victims of Dal Lake blaze appeal for soft-loans to build their houseboats

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Srinagar: People who lost their dwellings and houseboats inside the famed Dal Lake to a devastating blaze last week, Wednesday appealed the administration to help them by way of soft-loans so that they could build new houseboats.

Pleading for immediate help, the victims claimed that it is difficult for them to meet with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the moment to discuss the issues they are facing in the aftermath of the tragic incident.

Five luxurious houseboats, an equal number of wooden dwellings and a few other structures were gutted in a devastating blaze at Mir Mohalla near Ghat number 09 in Dal Lake on Saturday last.

Three Bangladeshi nationals on a trip to the iconic lake also lost their lives in the tragic incident.

“We are living under open sky since last Saturday as we have lost everything to the fire,” said Mohammad Shafi Khazir, who lost his opulent houseboat ‘Young Lala Rukh’ to the fire. Khazir also expressed profound grief at the tragic death of three tourists in the inferno.

The five houseboats lost to the fire were worth over Rs 30 crore, according to Khazir, and building new ones would be near impossible under present circumstances.

“The Lieutenant Governor is not someone we could go to and meet personally to discuss problems our families are facing. We thus appeal to him and the Chief Secretary, Divisional Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, to have pity on us by granting us a soft loans so that we care able to construct new houseboats,” Khazir told ‘Kashmir Images’.

Ghulam Rasool Kanna, who also lost his houseboat in the devastating blaze also appealed to the administration for soft-loans to the affected to help them construct houseboats afresh.

“This dreadful event consumed everything in a jiffy. How could we build these houseboats again? It will take years and a substantial sum of money to realize this near impossible dream. We are grateful to Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, who visited us and assured all possible help from the district administration,” said Kanna, adding building an opulent houseboat requires millions of rupees.

Ajaz Ahmad Khar, whose home at Mir Mohalla was also completely damaged in the fire, said that his family has been going through a difficult period ever since the terrible fire destroyed his property.

“We are unsure of what to do next, having lost everything so quickly. One of the major challenges facing us right now is to get over these losses,” Khar added.


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