The only fire tender that the municipal committee had got in 2010 has been shifted to the fire station of Kotkapura as it failed to get any staff to operate it here.
The move has, on the one hand, deprived the town of the fire services that could have been easily available within minutes in case of any fire incident in the town, on the other hand, it would allegedly add to the burden of the municipal committee of Kotkapura, that has already failed to maintain its own fire station properly due to acute shortage of funds.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier the district had only one fire station run by the municipal committee of Kotkapura with two heavy and one mini fire tenders. But, except the mini fire tender, both the heavy fire tenders, are nearly 30-year-old and have been off-the-road for the past some time.
The Kotkapura MC had earlier reportedly written to the district administration to shift its fire station to the district headquarters citing its poor health after octroi tax was abolished in 2006 and oil depots were shifted to Bathinda in 2000, a big source of revenue, that had left it staff surplus consequentially.
The shifting of the fire tender to Kotkapura may have been a tactical move of the district administration to make the fire station operational to some extent as it had only one mini fire tender, but it has put a question mark on the proper maintenance of the fire tender for which, besides staff, fuel and other fire extinguishers, are needed.
“The staff requirements to make a fire station operational for round-the-clock are very higher because, according to the rules, one fire tender requires about 22 staffers including drivers, firemen, assistant firemen and others, but it is a problem in Kotkapura as well,” claimed a source. The source further said, the Kotkapura fire station is also having only a dozen employees. The building to park the fire tenders is also in a very bad shape and material to be used to extinguish the fire is always in shortage.”
Neither Poonam Bhatnagar, executive officer of municipal committee of Faridkot, nor its administrator Sharuti Sharma, SDM, Faridkot, attended any calls made to them to seek their versions.
Gurbaksh Singh, fire station officer, Kotkapura, confirmed that they had got the fire tender from Faridkot on the instructions of the deputy commissioner of Farikdot. “Now we shall be able to operate with two fire tenders in the district as we have got the mini fire tender repaired besides getting one from Faridkot,” he said.
The flex board fixed on the office gate of the Faridkot MC reads that the fire tender has now been shifted to Kotkapura town till the staff is appointed in Faridkot with the permission of DC of Faridkot.