28 Shops, Residential House Gutted in Fire in Banihal

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Banihal-  At least 28 shops and a residential house were gutted in a fire in Banihal area in Ramban district of Jammu region, officials said on Saturday.

The fire erupted in the main market in Khari, 16 km from Banihal town, at around 10.45 pm on Friday, tehsildar (Khari) Ashok Chakravorty told PTI.

He said fire and emergency services personnel put out the blaze after hectic efforts of over one-and-a-half-hour. Army personnel from the nearby camp and local residents also joined the fire fighting operation.

The fire consumed 28 shops and a residential house, destroying property worth crores of rupees, the official said, adding the final report about the loss is being prepared.

He said the fire broke out in a shop apparently due to a short circuit and within no time engulfed other shops in the market. A case has been registered and further investigation is on, the official said.

A large group of people assembled at the scene on Saturday morning and staged a demonstration against the administration for its alleged failure to provide a fire station in the Tehsil.

It is our long pending demand to have a fire and emergency station in our Tehsil. The fire tenders were rushed from Banihal and it took them nearly half-an-hour to reach the spot, causing a little delay in the fire fighting operation, one of the protesters said.

Later, the protesters dispersed peacefully after the local tehsildar's assurance that their demand would be brought to the notice of appropriate quarters.

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