Jalandhar: Fire Dept grapples with staff crunch amid ensuing poll, harvest season : The Tribune India

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Jalandhar: Fire Dept grapples with staff crunch amid ensuing poll, harvest season

Jalandhar: Fire Dept grapples with staff crunch amid ensuing poll, harvest season

The fire brigade office in Jalandhar. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh



Tribune News Service

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj

Jalandhar, April 3

With the Lok Sabha election approaching and the wheat harvesting season setting in the Fire Department has been on its toes to ensure that tenders are available whenever the needed arises.

Farmers try to extinguish fire at a field. - File photo

We are managing with the available resources. Recently, we got three new staff members, too. I want to urge residents to cooperate with us whenever a major fire incident happens. I also request farmers to be vigilant now as harvesting has begun. Jaswant Singh, Divisional Fire Officer

The Tribune checked the preparedness of the department during this busy and sensitive time. As per the information, the sanctioned posts in the department are more as compared to the available staff in the city right now. Ideally, there should be 109 staff members in the city, but, there are only 82, that too, including contractual employees. Out of the 82 employees, 56 are firemen and 26 are drivers. There are only 18 fire tenders in the city to add insult to injury, a few out of the 18 are not working properly.

Also, a building of the substation surgical complex is under construction, but no extra staff has been deputed there.

Recently, the Chief Minister had also announced another substation at Focal Point, but, no steps have been taken yet in the direction.

Sources from the department said that since it was election season, whenever a VIP is visiting or rally/agitation is being organised, the presence of a fire tender is imperative. “At such times, there remains a high demand of the tenders. We somehow manage, but it is a big challenge,” the source said.

The ongoing wheat harvesting season is another challenge as several incidents of fires occur in the fields. “We have to call people for help from other blocks in case there is a huge fire incident, and it becomes unmanageable,” an official said.

Recently, an incident of a tanker of LPG gas cylinders turning near Cholang was also reported and the fire department officials had to call for fire tenders from Hoshiarpur to avoid any untoward incident.

Divisional Fire Officer Jaswant Singh said: “We are managing with the resources available. Recently, we got three new staff members, too. Also, I want to urge residents to cooperate with us whenever a major fire incident happens. At the same time, I request farmers to be vigilant now as harvesting has begun.”

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