BHOPAL : While national Fire Service Day (April 14) was observed in state on Saturday, no one seemed to care that the state Capital Bhopal was yet to have facilities and equipment to fight fire in large malls and high-rise buildings, especially the ones beyond seven storeys.

Bhopal Municipal Corportion (BMC) has claimed that it has the capacity to tackle fire in buildings having maximum seven storeys. Presently, the BMC has only one hydraulic platform and 22 fire fighters in its fleet which appears helpless in case of tackling fire in large malls. The situation indeed looks frightening in view of so many high rises and big-time malls coming up in the city, like DB Mall, C-21 Mall, Ashima Mall and People Mall.

Notably, Bhopal witnessed several fire incidents in the recent past. To remind some latest tragedies; an entire mall in Bairagarh was gutted in December, 2018 and a textile mill was damaged in fire in February, 2018. But, despite so many incidents, to one’s wonder the authority concerned is hardly bothered about strengthening its fire fighting fleet. Only just ritual is followed strictly on every April 14 to observe the Fire Service Day, commemorated as an occasion to pay tributes to the brave fire fighters who sacrificed their lives on line of duty on 14th April, 1944.

Lack of proper fire fighting equipment with the fire brigade department of the BMC however has serious implications on safety of common men who visit these large buildings in millions every day.

Most of the high rises including Gammon India, Platinum Park, Panchanan, Apex bank building, Betwa Apartments, Gangotri in New Market, Annapurna and Jeevan Vikas in Kotra either do not have fire safety measures put in place or they are not in working condition.

The prominent high-rises on Hoshangabad road which need proper fire fighting equipment include Paras Hermitage, Kunjan Nagar, Danish Nagar, Shivani complex, Surendra Landmark, Nikhil Nestles, Sagar Abhinav Heights, Paras Villas, Nirupama Royal Palms, Pacific Business Centre and Surendra Palace. None of these high rises is equipped with basic facilities required for even raising alarm in case of fire, let alone fighting it.

BMC fire officer Sajid Khan said, “We cannot douse fire in high rise building as we have capacity of manoeuvring only in maximum seven storey buildings. There are many buildings like Betwa and Gammon India which have 11 storeys but we do not have enough strength to tackle fire there.”

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Free Press Journal