A two-year wait to recruit much-needed drivers for its fire tenders turned into a nightmare exercise for the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) when a verification drive revealed that 200 of the 500 shortlisted candidates had submitted fake driving licences.
Faced with a shortage of 1,200 drivers, the DFS had requested the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) to shortlist candidates who met the job criteria. After two years, it finally received a list of 500 candidates. But the department was in for a rude shock when it started verifying the licences.
"The DSSSB simply matched the photocopies of the documents provided by the candidates with the originals. But when we sent the driving licence numbers to various regional transport offices for verification, they informed us they had not issued 200 such licences," said a senior DFS official. Sources said the candidates with the fake documents came from Mathura and Agra.
"In principle, a recruitment offer was given to them but after the verification, we are in the process of cancelling this offer. We have also informed DSSSB," a DFS official said.
With 3,500 fire tender operators, the DFS does not have the manpower to cater to the Capital's emergency needs. Its officials said this was a huge setback as the department had waited two years for the new recruits.
Fire tenders are emergency vehicles that are given precedence while on duty. They aren't stopped at intersections even when the lights are red, don't have to follow speed limits and are given passage on roads where restrictions are imposed.