Still reeling from the recent fire in Kalbadevi that claimed the lives of three senior fire officers, the Mumbai Fire Services Union has demanded compensation for fire brigade personnel on the lines of what members of the police force get.
The union met BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and put forward their demands on Tuesday.
Unhappy with the facilities provided to firefighters at present, the union has asked the civic body to accord the status of martyrs to firefighters who die on duty, and provide their families compensation that is equivalent to that given to families of police personnel who die on duty.
“If a policeman dies performing his duty, his family is entitled to his full salary and pension. Firefighters are also risking their lives. They should get the same treatment,” said Ramakant Bane, secretary of the Mumbai Fire Services Union.
Policemen and their families policemen get homes in police quarters, till retirement. They are also covered for medical insurance and there are separate hospitals for police personnel. There are no comparable facilities for firefighters.
The union has also asked the civic body to restart the practice of giving annual increments to 1,100 employees of the brigade. The civic body had stopped giving increments to these firefighters two years ago, after they accepted money from contractors who had been appointed to get them uniforms. Bane said, “The firefighters were ordered by senior officers to take money from the contractors, as the latter had not been able to provide uniforms to the firefighters. It was the fault of senior officials, and an inquiry should be conducted.”
The union has also pointed out the apathy of the civic body regarding inquiry reports of fire incidents. “After every incident, the BMC orders inquiries. However, the reports never come,” added Bane.
A delegation from the union met BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Tuesday and submitted a list of demands. Bane said, “The commissioner was very positive about our demands and he has asked us to meet him again next week.”