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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Delhi High Court directs AAP government to fill vacancies in fire department as early as possible

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the directions after the fire department informed the court that it has initiated steps to recruit around 706 fire operators on a permanent basis and 500 on contract.

education Updated: Oct 16, 2019 19:18 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
New Delhi
Delhi High Court.
Delhi High Court. (HT file )
         

The Delhi High Court directed the AAP government on Wednesday to fill up as early as possible and practicable the vacancies in the fire department, which, according to a PIL is facing a “manpower crunch”.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the directions after the fire department informed the court that it has initiated steps to recruit around 706 fire operators on a permanent basis and 500 on contract.

Taking note of the submissions made by the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) in its affidavit regarding the recruitment process, the court disposed of the plea saying in view of the steps taken it “saw no further need to monitor the matter”.

In the affidavit, the DFS has said that against a sanctioned strength of 3,311 fire operators, at present it has 2,371 personnel after 484 people joined the fire service this year.

It has also said that on May 30 a proposal was made to hire 500 fire operators on a contract basis for one year, to be extended till permanent recruitment was made, and the same was under scrutiny of the Delhi government’s finance department.

The statement on affidavit is in contrast to what the DFS told the court on the last date of hearing that 500 regular employment has already been given as fire operators and additional 500 people have already been appointed on contractual basis.

The affidavit was filed in response to the plea by the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) through its chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy contending that despite the lapse of more than 21 years since the Uphaar fire tragedy that claimed 59 lives, fire safety arrangements in the national capital have not improved as the DFS was facing a “manpower crunch”.

On June 13, 1997, during the screening of Bollywood film “Border” at the Uphaar theatre in south Delhi, 59 people, including women and children, died of suffocation as they were trapped inside the auditorium when it got filled with smoke after a nearby transformer caught fire that spread to the cars parked close to the building.

Krishnamoorthy had lost both her kids in the incident.

Reacting to the disposal of the petition, Krishnamoorthy told PTI that she was disappointed by the decision as with Diwali round the corner there were chances of fires breaking out and a short staffed DFS may not be able to handle them or carry out inspections.