Tired of an endless wait for assistance from the Central government,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has finally decided to allocate a sum of Rs 40 crore for setting up four fire stations in this fiscal.
Certain things,however,take more than just money to happen. The AMC has set for itself a target of setting up four fire stations during the budget period at Sola,Makarba,Chandkheda and Vastral.
It is a modest target as compared to what was being promised for the last three-and-a-half yearsof setting up 10 fire stations at a cost of Rs 118 crore. This was brought down to seven fire stations last year,but things never took off.
The further toned target of four fire stations seems a Herculean task given the deadline of one year,as projected in the municipal commissioner’s budget for 2009-10.
Sources in the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) say that it will take over a year for civil workers to complete,which will start only after identifying land and getting actual possession. Interestingly,none of the proposed four fire stations figured in the original expansion plan,maybe because civic limits were not expanded then.
Officials point out that the cost of setting up one fire station comes to around Rs 5.5 crore for civil works and Rs 3 crore for critical equipment.
This comes to Rs 34 crore,well within the allocation. The older plan of having 12 fire stations involved purchase of equipment at a cost of Rs 83 crore.
One-third of this comes to Rs 27.5 crore. Just one hydraulic platform of 80-metre height would approximately cost Rs 9 crore.
This will have to be complemented by two platforms of 42-metre height (Rs 7 crore each) to meet future demand at sites like GIFT City.
The estimate does not include establishment costs involving induction of at least 175 fire personnel,and that too after filling the vacancy backlog of 109. To run the service effectively,at least 600 personnel are required,say officials.
If in place of a 24-hour job,a three-shift system (8 hours X 3) is introduced,the requirement will have to be multiplied too.
Municipal Commissioner I P Gautam said the civic body had taken the initiative of allocating Rs 40 crore this time,as it could not afford to wait for Central funds,which would make their way after prolonged administrative approvals and processes.