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Relief road fire: Land records destroyed Saturday, June 9, 2001
Ahmedabad, June 8: A major fire broke out at the office of city surveyor superintendent-3 and additional city survey superintendent’s office destroying records of about 77,000 properties in the walled city.
Housed in the district collectorate office’s compounds on Relief Road, the office caught fire at 12.30 AM, and was sighted by a deputy mamlatdar on night duty, who raised the alarm.
It is expected that only 10 per cent of the records can be salvaged.
The land records pertain to areas of Khadia, Jamalpur, Raikhad, Railwaypura, Asarwa, Jehangirpura, Bhavanipura, Kalupur, Saraspur, Rakhial, Raipur-hajipur, Gomtipur, Amraivadi and Raghunathapura.
As per a press release issued by the DC office, it is expected that destroyed records can be quickly reconstructed. A special task force under settlement commissioner Arun Sutaria has been formed to draw a time-bound action plan. It is expected that he will submit a report of Monday.
The report will include the plan for reconstruction and the sources, which will help to reconstruct the records. While about 40 per cent records are computerised, the DC office is likely to bank heavily on the AMC tax records and the individual property maps.
The detailed survey done by the heritage cell of the AMC and the GIS project under way is also likely to help in reconstruction. The fire brigade reached the spot by 12.40 AM but the building could not be saved.
As many as 12 water tankers, five fighters, one snorkel had been pressed into service to check the spread of fire. Dating back to 1858, the wooden structure of two offices of the building caught fire easily and turned to ashes in no time.
The building’s structure is wooden and the beams have burnt thus making the building unsafe. However, the district collector, K. Srinivas said such things are mere speculations. “A police complaint has been lodged and Forensic Science laboratory is investigating,” he said.
However, a fire official told The Asian Age that there was a delay in intimating the fire station about the fire. “My experience tells me that whenever in the past there have been fires at government offices, it has been foul play,” he said.
The security scene at DC office is quite dismal and only one night watchman is on duty. The whereabouts of the security guard and the reason that he was not able to report the fire are not clear. Mr Srinivas refused to comment on the issue saying it was mere speculations.
The speculation of foul play is also fuelled by the fact that land records were strewn on the floor and this would be possible only if locks for holding the records were open.
Mr Srinivas said that it is too early to comment and locks may have melted due to the heat.
Meanwhile, Mr Srinivas said that none of the records burnt include those of earthquake related queries.
News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]