Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today directed the authorities to conduct a safety audit of shrines in the Valley after a fire broke out in the revered Khankah-e-Moula shrine. Chairing a high-level meeting to review the safety and protection of all the shrines of the Valley, the chief minister directed all the departments concerned, including the Wakf Board, Fire and Emergency Services, police and Srinagar Municipal Corporation to jointly conduct the safety audit and come up with precautionary measures to protect these places of reverence. The fire broke out around 1 am in the shrine, built in memory of renowned Sufi saint Mir Syed Ali Hamdani in downtown area of the city, damaging the spire of the building. Mehbooba directed installation of fire hydrants, smoke alarms, CCTVs and other precautions to prevent occurrence of fire at any shrine in the state, an official spokesman said. The spokesman said the chief minister, who is also the chairperson of the Wakf Board, directed immediate start of the restoration work at the Khanqah-i-Moula shrine and complete it within the shortest period of time. She asked the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to come up with the drawings within two days so that the restoration work is initiated. "Money would be no constraint in the completion of the restoration works at the shrine, which she described as civilisational soul for the people of the state," she said. Mehbooba said with the joint efforts of the local administration and the people of the area, the fire at the shrine complex was not let to spread. She expressed appreciation for the local youth who came forward and prevented the fire from spreading while directing the local administration to prepare list of such volunteers so that they would be suitably rewarded. Mehbooba was informed that regular prayers at the shrine would commence from Thursday after completing the cleaning, drying of the floor and laying of new furnishing at the shrine. The chief minister also directed the concerned agencies to expedite the restoration works at the Dastageer Sahib shrine at Khanyar so that the devotees are facilitated at the earliest. The INTACH and the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) offered to carry out the restoration work at the shrine free of cost in view of the importance of its for the people of the state. The meeting decided that the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, would monitor and supervise the restoration works at the shrine personally to get these completed in time. Earlier in the day, the chief minister, cancelled all engagements at Jammu, to personally assess the damage caused by fire at the shrine. She went around the shrine complex to assess the quantum of damage and sought a detailed appraisal from the local administration regarding the fire incident. Interacting with the members of the management committee and devotees, Mehbooba said the shrine symbolises the pluralistic ethos of Kashmir society from which every citizen of the state draws spiritual solace.
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