Free Press Journal

Mumbai Fire Safety: Manpower shortage hits BMC’s inspection cell

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Mumbai: The fire compliance cell established by the BMC after the Kamala Mills tragedy is facing an acute manpower shortage. HD Parab, deputy chief fire officer, told the Free Press Journal that they need additional manpower for the smooth functioning of these compliance cells.

“At present, 34 fire station officers have been given additional responsibility of these compliance cells. These officers, who are tasked with fire-fighting operations, have to perforce carry out inspections of commercial properties to ascertain whether they are adhering to fire safety norms. If officers are only employed for compliance cell work, they will be able to do a better job,” said Parab. Since the tragic Kamala Mills compound fire incident, there have been reports of at least one fire in the city on a daily basis. The BMC had received a lot of flak and was ordered to take specific steps by the Bombay High Court. The BMC had then set up fire compliance cells to ensure that residential and commercial establishment adhere to fire safety norms.

Prakash Devidas, President of the Mumbai Fire Brigade Officers’ Association, said in their defence, “We have held several meetings with Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, and Idzes Kundan, Additional Municipal Commissioner, for recruiting additional staff but thus far there has been no progress. Now, we have decided to move the Bombay High Court and seek directions to the civic body to recruit more staff in the fire department.”