Department ready with plan to keep city safe, but BBMP drags its feet
Deccan Chronicle| MK Ashoka
The biggest culprit is the Central Business District (CBD) which has narrow roads.
One of the narrow lanes in Chickpet, which can delay the movement of fire tenders in case of an emergency
BENGALURU: The horrific fire in New Delhi that killed 43 labourers has triggered a sense of fear in the city, which too has narrow lanes where fire tenders cannot enter like in New Delhi.
The biggest culprit is the Central Business District (CBD) which has narrow roads. The Fire Department has perceived the threats and is ready with the plan, but it is the BBMP which is dragging its feet, putting the lives of Bengalureans at risk.ADGP Sunil Agarwal, in charge of Fire and Emergency services, said that along the lines of police outposts, the fire department has planned fire sub-stations, which are not full-fledged setups, but are smaller and more agile.
"We require a minimum of 30x40 sqft or 30x50 sqft or at least 1,000 sqft space for a shed for our people to take rest during off calls. The space should accommodate Agni bikes and medium fire tender vehicles which can start immediately in case of a fire, before the bigger fire tenders arrive," he said. "The department has identified 20 to 22 places in the city. We have checked the clusters and congested areas in the city to put up these sub-stations. We require some minimum infrastructure. The civic body is taking its own sweet time and has been saying it will provide us space for quite some time now," he said. It has taken five to six months of their effort, while first two months were spent in identifying the risk spots. "The civic body has to respond now. I personally spoke to then BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad who had told me he would do whatever possible. Where a private land is available the Palike can give it to us under CSR initiatives," he suggested. To tackle the narrow lanes in the city, the department has Agni bikes and a smaller version of fire tenders. The bikes can carry one or two personnel and fight fire until additional support arrives.
"Big fire tenders with 45,000 litre capacity can’t enter narrow lanes, which have buildings built with earlier, narrower setbacks. Some have violated the setback and we are serving them notices. But the fire department alone cannot decide and the local civic body has to be on board with us," he insisted. "We also have smaller fire tenders, called Medium Water Tenders (MWTs), that are sent to areas that do not have bigger roads. If it is a factory, even if it is a low rise, we ask them to follow the National Building Code with strict fire safety norms," he said. "The situation is better in newer buildings as we are very strict in issuing no-objection and clearance certificates," he said.