The lax attitude of the Chandigarh administration towards upgrading of its fire safety infrastructure can be gauged from the fact that it has failed to implement guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) framed for all states and union territories in 2012.
As per those guidelines, Chandigarh is required to prepare a complete plan and work out the total requirements of manpower and equipment . All the hazardous industries existing in the urban and rural areas need to be accounted for. And, after conducting the vulnerability analysis of the area, the requirement of equipment should be worked out. After finalising the requirements, proposals should be prepared and submitted to the Planning Commission through the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for consideration and approval.
The Disaster Management Act, 2005, (section 41) and the National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009, require the local bodies to ensure capacitybuilding of their officers and employees for managing disasters. It calls for developing fire services into a multi-hazard response unit, well-equipped and trained to respond to other local disasters too. NDMA has also stressed upon community participation. Surinder Bahga, part of the MC committee that recently inspected all seven fire stations in the city, said the de par tment needed and overhaul. Leave aside the basic manpower shortage, even the ambulances of the department are in bad shape and need to be replaced. The department also does not possess small fire-tenders and is forced to use regular fire-tenders even for minor fires. “The system is just now working!” said Bahga.