Sangrur fire department's wait for new fire tenders continues | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Sangrur fire department's wait for new fire tenders continues

The district fire department's wait for replacement of its 1984-made fire tenders seems unending. It is more than one year that the fire station has been waiting for the approval from the headquarters to buy new tenders. Not only this, even the post of the fire station officer has been vacant for the past one year.

punjab Updated: Jun 15, 2015 21:33 IST
Gagandeep Singh Gill

The district fire department's wait for replacement of its 1984-made fire tenders seems unending. It is more than one year that the fire station has been waiting for the approval from the headquarters to buy new tenders. Not only this, even the post of the fire station officer has been vacant for the past one year.

The file, it is learnt, is gathering dust at the desk of Punjab director of local bodies Priyank Bharti.

A visit to the fire station revealed that besides the two old fire tenders, there is a 2013 model TATA 207 van, which is a quick-response utility vehicle.

In-charge, Sangrur fire brigade, Amarnath Saini, said the present fire station is situated close to FCI godowns on the Upli road near Captain Karam Singh Nagar. "Consequently, during kharif and rabi harvest seasons the presence, haphazard parking and the movement of a large number of trucks obstructs the passage and hinders the movement of fire engines in case of an emergency."

Except Malerkotla, the fire station caters to the whole of the district, despite an acute shortage of staff. At present, there is a total staff of 22 against the sanctioned strength of 44. Each fire tender requires 22 employees, including 14 firemen, four drivers and four leading firemen. It was in 1979 that the recruitment took place. After that no recruitment has been made.

Sub fire officer Labh Singh said the department has outsourced its work by hiring 11 employees, including 3 drivers and 8 firemen, who have not received their salaries or the last six months. Yet, they all are performing their duties. "At least these employees should be paid in time, so that we can retain them," he added.

Among the regular employees of the department, it is learnt, there are only three sub fire officers, two leading firemen, one driver and three firemen.

Labh Singh said, "Even regular employees' salaries are usually delayed. We don't get our pay on time. We received our salary for May on June 8 and the department failed to deposit even our provident fund into our accounts."

Saini said, despite these problems, the employees always perform their duties with efficiency. Since April 1 the station has attended 77 calls.