By : Mohan Verma
As many as 7 shops and 6 houses were completely gutted in a devastating fire which broke out on Monday night at township of Banjar sub division of Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh.
The loss of property worth over 2 crore was estimated while no loss of life was reported in the incident in which 4 families were rendered homeless. Eye-witnesses told that as the nearest fire station being in Kullu town, it took over two hours for the fire tenders to reach the Banjar town while the huge property was raised to ashes by the massive fire. The shops were of Joginder Singh, running a utensil store, Bagga jewellers, Ramesh, operating a medical store, Varun, Ajay Gupta, Vijay and Beliram. The residential buildings were of Shyam Sunder Sharma, Praveen Kumari Joshi, Ajay Gupta, Ajay Mehta, Anil Sharma and Hitesh.
Rakesh Kanwar, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kullu, reached the spot and consoled the fire victims and assured them to provide speedy relief as per the government manual. Virender Sharma, SDM Banjar confirmed that Rs. 20,000 was provided as measure of immediate relief to the victims who lost their dwellings while Rs. 5,000 was provided to the owners of gutted shops. The cause of the fire was not yet ascertained.
The government had failed to provide fire stations in headquarters of major subdivisions of this district even despite repeated demands of the residents. Congress MLA from Banjar had also earlier requested the chief minister to sanction a fire station at Banjar and Sainj valley.