KARAN NAGAR GUNFIGHT: Owners assess loss to damaged houses

KARAN NAGAR GUNFIGHT: Owners assess loss to damaged houses
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‘We put all our savings into the construction’

SRINAGAR: Two identical adjacent under-construction buildings have been damaged badly in the Karan Nagar gunfight this week, the owners said Saturday, contrary to media reports of one building.
The owners, two brothers, who visited the building Saturday for the first time after the gunfight, put the initial damage estimate at Rs 70 lakhs.
Two unidentified militants and a CRPF trooper were killed while a policeman was injured during the 30-hour-long encounter at the site. The militants had taken refuge in the building after unsuccessful attempt to sneak into an adjacent CRPF camp.
The brothers, Bashir Ahmad and Nazir Ahmad, both engineers, told Kashmir Reader that they have been constructing the structures since 2014 after their ancestral house at Chattabal was ravaged by the floods. Since then they said they have been living at sister’s place at Bemina.
“We had planned to shift by May or June this year,” said Nazir Ahmad. “But destiny changed everything. Our entire saving-like gold, gratuity, GP fund, had gone into constructing the houses. We did so because we wanted to finish the construction soon, and resume our normal lives in our own houses as soon as possible.”
“After floods we had decided to construct the houses at same place,” he added.
The houses, with identical infrastructure, are spread over 1800 square feet. The three storied houses have ten rooms, with attic and six bathrooms each.
The owners visited it on Saturday for the first time since the encounter ended.
“It was really difficult for us to see our hard earned money spread into ruins. Finally we decided to visit, and assess the unbearable losses,” Nazir added.
Bashir said the encounter has damaged its two staircases over two floors, two concrete ceilings, all plumbing, all windows frames made of kale, and scores of doors made of Deodar.
“The forces had showered 20,000 bullets and 250 UBGL grenades to kill the militants. Some of the bullets are still inside the 14 inch and 9 inch walls that support the structures,” said Bashir.
“Financially we have touched the ground. We had no insurance, no bank loans. All we had was years of savings. We have nothing now,” said Nazir, a junior engineer in government’s PWD department. He has five years to attain superannuation. Bashir had retired as superintending engineer two years ago,
The state government is mulling to provide compensation to the owners. On Friday Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range SP Pani, told Kashmir Reader that an investigation has revealed that the owner had no involvement in the incident, which makes him eligible for the relief.
“We won’t let the owner suffer. We won’t punish him for anything he has not done. He will get all the benefits he is entitled to. In our report that we will forward to the state government, we will mention the same,” Pani said, adding, “The process may take some weeks.”
The government compensation has a maximum cap of Rs ten lakh for a structure as per SRO.