Braving winter in tin shed, Buchwara fire victims say government forgot them

Braving winter in tin shed, Buchwara fire victims say government forgot them

By Insha Latief
SRINAGAR: Three months after a blaze destroyed their homes, the fire victims of Buchwara are still putting up in a tin shed in the locality and say they have been ignored by the government.
More than 60 families were left homeless when a fire destroyed 25 houses in Buchwara locality near Dal Lake on 21 November 2016.
Some of the victims are putting up at their relatives’ homes or in rented accommodations, while others are living in sheds set up by Jamaat-i-Islami at the site of a marriage hall in the locality.
Khatija, an elderly women shares a small room stuffed with things with her seven other family members in the shed. Like many other families, Khadija spend the harsh winter in the temporary shelter.
“We all family members live in a single room. Government has forgotten us. If people, and NGOs hadn’t helped us, we would have died,” Khatija said.
When it rains, water pours from the roof at many places. So the inmates have covered those spots in the ceiling with polythene and blankets.
“For how long, can one stay at relatives’ home. We are living like refugees. We are too poor to build a new house immediately. That is why we are managing every shade of weather,” said Shameema, another resident putting up in the shed.
The sheds have toilets but no bathrooms, no electricity, and no provision for hot water. The inmates use lamps and candles for lighting, and LPG stoves and kerosene stoves for cooking.
“The bathroom of one of the gutted house is intact. Women here use that one for bathing. Utensils are washed near public tap.” Said Shameema.
The inmates say they are too poor to rebuild their houses.
“We all fire victims are poor and can’t afford to build a house. We should get some support from government,” Abdul Majid said.
Though the inmates said the government has provided Rs 1.05 lakh compensation per structure plus Rs 50,000 per family, the amount, they said, was not enough to help them rebuild their lives.
“In times of inflation, what will we get in this amount? We can’t even fulfill our daily needs,” said Ghulam Mohammad another fire victim.
They added that they were promised free rations for six months but free rations for only one month was provided.

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