The Sagrur fire department is grappling with the problem of shortage of staff and outdated fire-fighting devices.
The department, which caters to six municipal councils and four nagar panchayats, has only nine persons working in the station.
The fire department chief Karam Singh said that the department has 80 percent vacancy.
“The required strength of the fire station is 54. But only nine persons are working in the station at present. Out of the nine, one is the station officer, three are sub officers, one is a leading fire man, three are fire man and one is a driver,” he said.
“To work smoothly, one fire tender requires at least 22 people including four leading fire men, 14 firemen and four drivers,” he added.Singh said that the last major recruitment was done in 1979, but after that employees began to be hired on contractual basis. Adding to their woes, the staff is not given salaries on time.
The major source of income of the municipal council was the octroi, which was shut down. Since then the council has been trying hard to credit salary to the employees account.The only other fire station nearby is located in the Malerkotla subdivision, which has only one fire tender.
The Malerkotla fire station itself has only one leading fire man, one fire man and one driver. The required strength at the station, however, is 22.
The department has been waiting for the administration to replace its 1984 made fire tenders. However, even after a three year wait, the department hasn’t received the sanction for the purchase of new fire tenders.
The fire station has two 1984made fire tenders, which have outlived their utility but is still being used. The maintenance of the three-decade-old fire tenders is very expensive. The Malerkotla fire station also has only one fire tender which is also in a dilapidated state.