The fire department in the state capital has only one snorkel ladder-mounted truck despite mushroom growth of multi-storeyed buildings, malls and important installations in the city.
A truck with a snorkel ladder is an effective firefighting facility which has a self-contained breathing apparatus, ventilating equipment, first aid kits, and hydraulic rescue tools besides a collapsible telescopic ladder.
The apparatus proves effective in fire-fighting and rescue operations, especially in high-rise buildings. At present , the department requires at least one more such trucks to address an emergency situation. However, despite fire risks, the department, which comes under the Jaipur Municipal Corporation, has only one such facility. Officials say that they couldn’t purchase more because of fund requirement. However, builders allege that the JMC and JDA which pass the building maps receive money for the fire cess which has over Rs 100 crore but has remained unspent.
Fire department officials said the lone truck was purchased in 2011. “We are in talks with the government to acquire another ladder. We bought the existing ladder for Rs. 1 crore. But the new ladder will cost us around Rs. 20 crore, since it will be imported from Finland,” chief fire officer Sanjay Sharma said.
Vice-president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Anurag Sharma, alleged that the fire cess had been accumulating since 2009. But, neither the JDA nor the JMC has spent any part of the fund to purchase fire-fighting equipment, he said and asked, “Where is the money going?” The JDA officials admitted what Sharma said but failed to give any reason behind the non-purchase of the essential equipment with the money. However, JDA secretary Pawan Arora said, “We will soon hold a meeting with the fire department to decide on the purchase of fire-fighting equipment.” Later, the fire department can furnish the proposal as to what all it wants to purchase with the cess money and furnish the utilization certificate thereafter, he seemed to suggest.