Families of fire fighters employed by the municipal corporation are eligible to claim only Rs 5,000 as insurance for their life, if they happen to lose their lives, fighting a fire. Even this amount is deducted from the employees' salaries.
Sources said that the MC deducted Rs 12 annually from the fire fighting staff's salary as insurance cover, but provided little compensation in case of an eventuality.
A firefighter, on the condition of anonymity, claimed: "We have not been covered under any insurance policy, even as we routinely our own lives to save property and people."
Sources said that 215 major and minor fire incidents had been reported in different parts of the city, till date this year. "In case of causality, the family of a fireman gets only Rs 5,000 as compensation. Even our medical bills are not reimbursed in case of a fire," a fireman said.
To add to worries of the fire fighters, they have not been provided essential equipment to perform their duty like fire safety suits, masks, fire boots and fire extinguishers for over many years.
"We have approached senior authorities in the corporation, but our repeated representations have fallen on deaf ears," added a fireman.
MC commissioner Parminder Singh Gill claimed he had met the fire-fighting staff a few days back and had taken up the matter of insurance with their seniors.
"Apart from getting insurance on the agenda, we will also include the issue of providing security to the staff in the general house meeting."
Sources claimed that the fire brigade office had been hit by acute shortage of staff as there was staff at only 35 of the 65 seats.
"Of the two big fire tenders, only one van is available in working condition. A tender has also been sent for repairs since May. An operational tender is usually occupied in providing protection to the VIPs," another source said.