With the commencement of the year 2016, Maharashtra witnessed many fire mishaps, right from Deonar rage to Make in India event, where massive fire broke out, engulfing the city in a thick blanket of smog. Accidents like these have happened int the past and will happen in the future as well. And now with festive season around, the state is much more susceptible to such incidents.
One of the major problems whenever a fire breaks out is that how intense fire does not easily comes under control and continues to simmer , with the smoke creating a havoc for the people residing in the nearby areas. Thus, it raises the issues of not only loss of lives and property damage but also pollution concerns.
Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) computed an audit which highlighted several points that needed urgent attention. With high rise buildings becoming a norm rather than an exception, timely inspection in terms of fire preparedness has been made mandatory to avoid major calamities. In fact, one of the major concerns was with Pune city, as the city lacks enough fire brigades to carry out the inspections at regular intervals. The inadequacy of fire stations combined with less manpower results in the failure to carry out such inspections in Pune, and this calls for an immediate introspection.
As per the norm, there should be one station every 10 square kilometre area. However, Pune has one station every 36.57 square kilometre. In fact, only the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai has one station every 13.46 square kilometre area among the eight municipal corporations in Maharashtra namely, Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati and Navi Mumbai.
Every year, the Municipal Corporation allocates funds towards fire department, however, the funds were not put to use. In the case of Pune, funds of around Rs 8.40 crore was found unutilised, with the fire department citing the election code of conduct and other reasons for the same. Overall in the state, Rs 1,091.20 crore was allocated for the fire department of which only Rs 854.87 crore was utilised, rest laid unspent.
During such fire breaks, the area is swept with the fire for prolonged duration and the damage ratio is high, thus, embarking the question which has been raised for so many times now, but still left answered-Is there an urgent need of establishing fire stations and implementing certain rules? Because disasters cannot be prevented but the causalities and damage can.