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Ludhiana factory collapse: Navjot Sidhu calls deceased firemen ‘martyrs’; announces gallantry award for them

Fire heroes: The local bodies minister was in Amritsar where he met the grieving families of two firemen; ‘Fire Safety Week’ to be observed in Ludhiana to pay tribute to deceased firemen.

punjab Updated: Nov 27, 2017 12:23 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu consoling deceased firefighter Sumohan Gill’s wife Venus Gill (left), son Sahil Gill and daughter Shanaz Gill in Amritsar on Sunday.
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu consoling deceased firefighter Sumohan Gill’s wife Venus Gill (left), son Sahil Gill and daughter Shanaz Gill in Amritsar on Sunday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Terming the firemen killed in Ludhiana factory collapse tragedy ‘martyrs’, Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday announced to give them gallantry awards and build a memorial for them in Ludhiana.

Among the six deceased firemen, sub-fire officers Sumohan Gill, 53, and Rajinder Sharma, 50, belonged to Labh Nagar and Mohni Park localities in Amritsar respectively. Sidhu made the announcement while paying condolences to the two firemen’s grieving families at their residences. He assured them all possible.

Taking responsibility of the causalities, Sidhu apologised from the families for not being able to rescue their kin.

  • Targeting illegal structures that do not meet security norms, including fire safety, he said, “There are hundreds of such buildings in the state. Except the buildings that commit gross violations of norms, all such buildings would be regularised with a new policy,” he added.
  • He said the fire brigade vehicles which are available in cities are not able to douse flames on tall buildings. He said advanced fire brigade vehicles worth Rs 8 crore will be provided to Ludhiana and worth Rs 4 crore to Amritsar and Patiala.
  • Besides, he disclosed that Fire Prevention Act will also come into force in the state soon

Further, Sidhu said that although Fire Safety Week is observed in October every year across the world, the Punjab government would mark it for the first time next year. “A function will be organised to pay tributes to the firemen killed while dousing flames. During the event, gallantry awards will be given to them as they are also martyrs of the country. Besides, a memorial has also been proposed in Ludhiana as most fire incidents have taken place there,” he said.

In a memorandum submitted to the minister, fire safety personnel demanded that tributes should be paid to those killed on duty in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Sidhu assured them that their demands will be met. He also told them that a Rs 50 crore proposal, which is being made on the directions of chief minister (CM) Amarinder Singh, to revamp the fire safety system in the state, would be finalised on their consent.

The proposal will include insurance cover, safety equipment, salary hike and regularisation of the employees and will be submitted to the CM soon, he said.

IPS to head fire directorate

Stating that 90% states of the country have IPS rank as head of fire directorate, Sidhu said Punjab would follow suit and would appoint an IPS officer as head of fire directorate of Punjab. “For the past 15 years, a clerk has been looking after the fire department. So, I have urged the CM to provide an IPS officer for the same,” Sidhu said.

The minister said he has demanded Rs 70 crore from the fire department for recruitment in fire directorate and ensuring availability of fire suits and other security equipment. “Right now, only 150 firemen are there to deal with fire incidents, the fire safety system needs 400-500 personnel at least,” he said.

He said the CM has already announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the aggrieved families and jobs for next of kin of the deceased firemen.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 12:17 IST

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