A Surat District Panchayat Congress member has written to the Chief Minister’s Office pointing out the need to set up fire stations in nine talukas of Surat district, eight of which fall under the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation’s zone and house textile and chemical factories.
The nine talukas are Mandvi, Karanj, Mangol, Olpad, Kim, Palsana, Kadodara, Choryasi, and Umarpada. The GIDC zone covers eight of them except Umarpada and poses a fire hazard due to the nature of the industries located there.
“I have written a letter to inform state government to start fire stations in all nine talukas,” Naik told The Indian Express. In it, Darshan Naik said he was writing in view of the May 24 Takshashila Arcade fire in Surat city, which resulted in the deaths of 22 students. While the incident had taught many lessons to the Surat municipal authorities and made common citizens aware about fire safety precautions, he wrote, the 20 lakh people working and residing in these nine talukas were vulnerable as there was not a single fire station to service these areas.
A copy of the letter is with The Indian Express. Naik wrote that whenever a fire breaks out in these talukas, the fire brigade had to come all the way from Surat city, which takes about an hour’s travel time. Even disaster management teams of the district administration have had to rely on the fire department of Surat city, the letter pointed out. “If there is a facility nearby, fire officials can reach early and save human lives,” Naik said.
The district panchayat member proposed that as the local body owned lands in the nine talukas, the district collector could allocate some gauchar (grazing) land to set up fire stations. This would prevent heavy human casualties in the event of a fire, he said.
Naik also suggested that the fire station could be built on a Public Private Partnership model. “Or industries could donate money for such fire stations,” he said.