In the last decade, Bhopal has witnessed a significant vertical growth with respect to tall buildings and housing complexes that have come up in and around the city. But it is surprising that the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not have enough firefighting infrastructure, especially the hydraulic platform that can reach buildings over seven-storey tall.
Sources in the BMC said the civic body does not have enough money to buy the 115- feet hydraulic platform, which costs over Rs. 5 crore. The BMC has just one hydraulic platform that can reach to a height of 70 feet. In simple terms, it reaches to six storeys. Buildings taller than six storeys cannot be reached by the present hydraulic platform. Also worrying is that fact that the present hydraulic platform is 22 years old and its performance has significantly decreased. Earlier this year, the BMC decided to procure a hydraulic platform, which will help the city’s firefighters to reach out to a working height of 115 feet (35 metres). As it costs over Rs. 5.5 crore, the cashstrapped BMC is trying to seek the required funds for procuring this machine as a grant from the state government.
When contacted, the BMC council secretary and in charge Fire Wing GC Bhawsar said they have already sent the proposal to the state government, but there has been no response. “We have already sent two reminders to the state government, since April this year, but nothing has materialised yet,” he said.
The BMC intends to procure the hydraulic platform from Liftmak Udyog Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based manufacturer of industrial and municipal equipments, especially a wide range of chassis/tractor-mounted and trailer- mounted equipment. The new hydraulic platform will weigh around 500kg and cost around Rs. 5.5 crore. After the mayor-in-council approved the proposal of procuring the hydraulic platform, it was also approved in the BMC’s general council meeting.
The BMC’s fire officer Sajid Khan said the 115-feet hydraulic platform was very important for Bhopal now, as many buildings over six storeys tall have come up here. “Nearly four years ago, we had sent a proposal to the Centre for funding a 115-feet platform for Bhopal. But nothing materialised. I hope, now, the Centre would provide us the required funds as soon as possible”, he said.
Many skyscrapers in the city do not have adequate firefighting arrangements. Last year, after the fire incident at the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, the BMC had started a campaign to check the firefighting arrangements in the city’s nursing homes, hospitals, banquet halls, restaurants, hotels, buildings and other places. They found them quite inadequate. The building owners were accordingly served notices and asked to make changes in their infrastructure and management to ensure there were proper firefighting arrangements. The BMC’s team also made surprise inspections of some housing societies and again found most fire arrangements inadequate and outdated.