Proposal to upgrade dept was mooted over an year ago but no work has been undertaken
The Panchkula Fire Department continues to remain ill-equipped to handle any emergency,a year after a proposal for upgrading the Panchkula Fire Service was mooted by the authorities. The issue came to fore on Tuesday afternoon,when fire broke out in a shop-cum- office (SCO) in Sector 11 and the local fire tenders failed to douse the fire for about one hour. It was only after the help of Chandigarh fire department that the fire was brought under control. Nearly half a dozen showrooms and SCOs were damaged in the fire causing damage to property worth crores.
According to the fire service officials,they have a shortage of equipment and machines to handle fire in a district with a population of six lakh. The Panchkula fire brigade has seven fire fighting machines and it includes two foam tender machines,a water tender,two small fire engines and another machine to tackle fire emergency n the district. A fire tender is also stationed at Kalka.
We are definitely short of machines. We had put forth a plan for the upgradation of the department,but so far nothing has happened, said an official. We dont even have a hydraulic ladder despite the fact that the city houses dozens of high rise buildings. In such circumstances,we are totally dependent on Chandigarh,if major fire erupts in the district.
The Panchkula administration had submitted a proposal to the Haryana government for getting two hydraulic ladders and upgrading the fire department. They had also asked for new fire fighting machines that will help them handle fire emergency situations.
But while the fire department is ill-equipped,the residents are also angry at the shopkeepers who had neglected to install fire extinguishers at their shops. The fire officials should regularly hold checks and if fire safety equipment are not working they should be punished, said a sector 6 resident,Ashwani.