Srinagar- The fire affected families, who lost their luxurious houseboats worth crores to the devastating blaze in Dal Lake last week, today made a fervent appeal to the Lieutenant Governor administration for the soft loans necessary to reconstruct their houseboats.
Given the losses they endured in the tragic fire incident, the affected families claimed that it is rather impossible for them to construct a houseboat from the ground up.
They said the government ought to assist them rebuild their houseboats as the prices of Cedar (deodar) have skyrocketed, besides labor and other expenses makes it a herculean task.
“We appeal to the government to lend us money at no interest so that we are able to rebuild our houseboats. Given the skyrocketing cost of imperial wood, it’s a monumental undertaking for us,” Ghulam Rasool Kanna, who lost his opulent houseboat to the tragic fire, told Kashmir Observer.
It may be in place to mention that three Bangladeshi tourists, who were staying in a luxurious houseboat at Mir Mohalla, Dal Lake near Ghat No 09 lost their lives in a tragic fire incident on Saturday last.
Five luxurious houseboats, an equal number of wooden dwellings and a few nearby structures were also razed to the ashes in the devastating blaze that created total chaos and confusion in Dal Lake, an iconic tourist attraction in Srinagar.
Building a new houseboat, Kanna said, takes years and a significant sum of money, making it seem like a dream impossible.
“All we want from the government is interest free loans. Our whole possessions were lost in the terrible fire. Not even our clothing could be saved. We lost shelters as well and are currently residing at our relatives’ houses,” he added.
The five houseboats, Kanna said have a present market value of about 30crore and that building new ones would be near impossible under present circumstances.
The premium wood needed to make a lavish houseboat, known as Cedar (deodar) costs between Rs 7500 and 900 per square foot, while a single houseboat’s total building expenses are around 6 crore, he added.
“We really feel sorry for those who lost their precious lives in the incident and express our heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families. Right now we are living under open sky along with our families as the tragic fire consumed our property worth crores in a jiffy,” said Mohammad Shafi Khazir, who saw his houseboat Young Lala Rukh reducing to ashes.
Khazir also appealed for the soft loans to help them reconstruct their houseboats, which he said was the only source of income for him to sustain his family.
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