87 houses of a Kalikot village burnt down

Surkhet, December 24

A fire broke out at midnight and spread across Khanda village in Palanta Rural Municipality of Kalikot, gutting 87 houses yesterday. Seven persons were injured while trying to douse the fire.

“Eighty-seven houses have been destroyed in the blaze that started at midnight. The fire was doused only this afternoon, not before claiming the lives of 97 cattle,” said Kalikot Chief District Officer Chandra Bahadur Karki. He added that the wind had stoked the fire and made it difficult to control.

Palanta Rural Municipality Chairperson Laxman Bahadur Bam said the fire started from the house of Nabin Neupane before spreading to other houses. “As most houses had thatched roofs, the fire spread in no time. As most youths of the village are migrant labourers working abroad, leaving only elderly, women and children back in the village, few locals could help douse fire,” he said.

Bam added that fire-fighting was also hampered by scarcity of water in the village. “At a time when villagers can hardly manage water for drinking purposes, you wouldn’t expect to get water to douse the fire,” Bam said.

According to District Police Office acting police chief Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Malla, police teams from Thirpu Area Police Office in the district and Pachaljharana Rural Municipality of the neighbouring Jajarkot district helped carry out the rescue.

Khanda, a village with 179 households, is the ancestral land of the Neupanes.

“The fire had started at midnight, but we were not informed till 2:00am. The village lacks communication facility and people had to go elsewhere to inform police about the incident,” said the DSP, adding the incident site is five hours trek from Thirpu.

DSP Malla added that the cause of fire was yet to be ascertained. “Of the seven persons who were injured while trying to douse the fire, the condition of one is said to be serious,” said Malla, adding that up to 540 people have been displaced and are staying in the open.

Meanwhile, the home ministry dispatched relief materials to the site today via a chopper.

“Fire victims have been provided with tarpaulin,” said Malla. Karnali Province Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi pledged to provide Rs 20,000 to each of the victim families as relief.