SHOPIAN: Local residents and insiders in the department are smelling foul play in the fire which broke out in the Muncipal Committee office in Shopian on Monday evening.
While residents of the town accuse Municipal committee officials of setting fire to the building “to cover up various scams”, sources in the department said that an investigation into ‘vehicle entry fee in the town’ and building permissions was in offing before the fire.
“They have given permission for construction of dozens of structures in the town while taking huge bribes,” a local resident alleged.
Residents living nearby said that the fire squad reach the spot in no time, “but the flames were so intensive, it appeared as if there was petrol inside”.
An official in the department lamented that “an office where a line-man is given job of Khilaf-warzi assistant, a fire breakout is not surprising”.
According to local residents and insiders, a lineman was posted as Khilaf-warzi assistant at the office for last eight years.
Executive Officer of the Muncipal Committee, Firdous Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that he was posted to the office last month.
“I was busy in repairing the defunct vehicles, sanitation and was about to look into the documentation works,” Firdous said adding that they would investigate the incident.
Asked about the foul play allegations by residents, Firdous said, he can’t say anything before the investigation.
On the appointment of lineman as khilaf-warzi assistant, Firdous said the concerned employee had already been attached to Divisional Commissioner’s office.
“The Deputy Commissioner of Shopian complained against him in Divisional Commissioner’s officer and he was then attached,” Firdous said.
Firdous added that as per preliminary report, there has not been a heavy damage to records. Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Owais Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that if people have any complaints they can visit his office for recording statements.
“I will look into how a lineman was appointed at Khilaf-warzi assistant,” he said, adding that, if required, a committee would be set up for investigating the case.
An officer from the municipal office said that police has taken documents and samples to investigate the cause of fire. The director urban local bodies also took stock of the building and documents, he informed.