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Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

It's start from scratch, nay ash, for them

By Our Staff Reporter

The fire-ravaged Singareni Colony teems with residents and relief workers on Thursday. Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

HYDERABAD, FEB. 10. The scorching heat seemed to have no effect on Laxmamma, who sat quietly on a boulder. Her only belongings were four empty vessels. Her grim face spoke everything. Like her, several others were engaged in a battle - piecing together what was left after Wednesday's inferno, which saw everything reduced to ashes.

A day after the fire swept through the Singareni Colony at Saidabad, destroying over 2,000 huts and leaving four dead, the poor families, which were content with having a roof over their head till yesterday, were yet to come to terms with reality. Roofless, many sat at where their homes were, staring into the bleakness of the fire-ravaged zone.

Essentials' supply

The Government machinery stepped in to take up relief work and distributed food and water packets, 10 kg of rice and Rs. 2,500 in cash to the residents on Thursday. The people made a beeline to the temporary tents put up at the spot to distribute the essentials. Some 18 medical teams were also pressed into service.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, who visited the site, demanded that the Government provide at least Rs. 5,000 as immediate relief instead of Rs. 2,500. He further demanded that the Rs. 1 lakh ex gratia announced for the victims' family members be increased to Rs. 2 lakhs and pattas be distributed to the residents.

He said that the Government should construct houses for the residents. "A CID enquiry should be ordered to look into various aspects of the tragedy, especially into the complaints that fire tenders reached the site late," he said.

"I was trying to gather whatever small belongings of mine that missed the fury of the fire, but nothing is left, except these," said Padma, pointing her finger towards a couple of vessels, which too had turned black. Padma, along with her two sons, had gone out for work when the fire broke out. "By the time I returned, it was all over. I have lost everything," she said.

A few metres away sat a labourer, Ramulu, along with his wife and two children.

When approached, his wife, Rajitha, who suffered burns, started weeping. "Where will we go now? As it is we were having one meal a day. At least, we were content that we had a roof above us, but even that is gone."

The East Zone DCP, K.V.R.N. Reddy, informed that large number of policemen had been deployed in and around the site to check any law and order problem. The police were assisting other agencies in the enumeration of huts and supervising other arrangements.

"Most of them had gone to Nalgonda to attend a meeting organised by a political party while some others had gone out for work. This saved many lives," Mr. Reddy said.

BJP's appeal

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged the Government to appoint a high-level committee to enquire into the fire mishap.

The party State president, N. Indrasena Reddy, the national secretary, B. Dattatreya, and other leaders called on the victims' kin and consoled them. Expressing doubts if anti-national forces were behind it, they wanted a probe by a high-level committee. They also said that houses should be constructed under the Vambay scheme.

Naandi Foundation on Thursday provided meals to 5,000 slum-dwellers who had lost everything in the fire mishap.

Naidu for hike in ex gratia Relief work in full swing

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