Fire Safety Part II: Amritsar, with a population of 1.2 million, has only four fire stations

Tribune News Service

Charanjit Singh Teja

Amritsar, April 5th

There are only four fire stations that can serve Amritsar’s population of 12 million people. Over the past 50 years, the city has expanded, but the number of fire stations has not. Although these fire stations are located in the internal areas of the city, most of the time fire incidents are reported in the suburban areas of the city. The City Hall, Beri Gate and Girwari Gate fire stations are based in congested areas, making it very difficult for the fire brigade to respond to calls from areas on the outskirts of the city while passing quickly and reaching their destinations on time. We believe that it is difficult to secure sufficient space. A new fire station opened in the Focal Point area several months ago, but the addition of personnel and infrastructure has not yet materialized.

According to the Standing Fire Service Advisory Committee (SFAC) constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, there should be a fire station for every 50,000 people. The city has a population of more than 12 million people and requires at least 24 fire stations to efficiently deal with fire incidents. However, there are only four fire stations, three of which are within the walled city area. All these fire stations were established by 1970.

With the expansion of Amritsar Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction and the development of new residential and industrial areas on the periphery of the city, the MC fire department set up four new fire stations a few years ago to effectively deal with fire incidents. proposed to do so. In December 2020, the Fire Department wrote to the government to establish four fire stations on the outskirts of the city. As per the proposal, the MC has requested that a fire station be set up in Zone No. 6 to cover Batala Road and Majitha Road and MC headquarters to cover the area around Ranjit Road and Bypass Road. The fire station along GT Road will cover the area from Ram Tarai to Jalandhar Pathankot Bypass. In addition, he would need to outsource 48 firefighters and his 16 drivers to keep the four fire stations functioning, according to officials’ estimates. MC already has land for a fire station. Following this, the MC House unanimously passed the proposal and sent it to the Punjab government in 2021, but nothing happened in this direction.

Firefighters in MC say they have to respond to calls when fires break out in industrial areas and farms around the city. However, all fire engines and infrastructure have been deployed within the city.

On September 16, 2023, after a meeting with local businessmen, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann issued directions to set up a fire station at the old focal point on Mehta Road for safety in industrial areas. Currently, two fire engines are stationed at the focal point on Mehta Road.

Additional Divisional Fire Officer (ADFO) Dilbagh Singh said, “An estimate of Rs 250 crore has been prepared for the construction of the fire station building and the bidding process has begun. provided. We are not recruiting additional staff yet.”

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