If a Kolkata-like fire mishap was to happen in Delhi, the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) would be in no position to help either, as the CAG report states that firefighters are hopelessly ill-equipped and inefficient.
In 77% of the times, the DFS reached the emergency spot later than the prescribed time limit of five minutes. In a large number of cases, the fire department was delayed by 15 minutes or more, the report said.
“This (the delay) resulted in aggravated damage to property and life,” the audit states.
Even if they reached on time, there was precious little the firemen could do as they either did not have enough tools to fight the emergency or their tools did not function optimally.
Most of their vehicles remained in need of repair and servicing. That apart, the DFS administration was found inefficient in keeping its equipment serviced and job-ready.
“Eleven of their water tenders remained out of order for a period ranging between seven to 37 months,” the CAG said.
Around 164 of the total 278 static water tanks were non-functional during the audit period.
This means that even if the firefighters reached a fire emergency, they have only their daredevilry with little technological support to fight fire. And the fault lay in the department's own administration.
The CAG also found that the utility had an up to 67 per cent shortage of fire-fighting appliances. Moreover, it had a 48 per cent shortage of firefighters.