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Fire Safety Part - II: With population of 12 lakh, Amritsar has only 4 fire stations

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Tribune News Service

Charanjit Singh Teja

Amritsar, April 5

There are only four fire stations that cater to the 12 lakh population of Amritsar. In the past 50 years, the city has expanded but the number of fire stations has not increased. These fire stations exist in the interior areas of the city, but most of the time, the fire incidents are reported in city’s outer areas. The fire stations of Town Hall, Beri Gate and Gilwali Gate are based in congested areas where fire tenders find it difficult to get enough space to pass swiftly and reach their destination on time while attending fire calls from areas in the outer city. A new fire station opened in the Focal Point area a few months back but additional staff and infrastructure is yet to materialise.

As per the Standing Fire Advisory Committee (SFAC), constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, there should be a fire station for a population of 50,000. As the city has a population of over 12 lakh, it requires at least 24 fire stations to tackle fire incidents efficiently. However, there are only four fire stations, including three within the walled city area. All these fire stations were established by 1970.

With the extension of the jurisdiction of Amritsar Municipal Corporation and development of new residential colonies and industrial areas in the city’s periphery, the MC’s Fire Department proposed to set up four new fire stations to effectively tackle fire incidents some years back. In December 2020, the Fire Department wrote to the government for setting up four fire stations in the outer areas of the city. As per the proposal, the MC asked to establish a fire station in Zone No. 6 to cover Batala Road and Majitha Road and MC Head Office to cover the Ranjit Avenue and areas around the bypass road. A fire station along GT Road would cover the area from Ram Talai to the Jalandhar-Pathankot bypass. As per the estimate of officials, they need to outsource 48 firemen and 16 drivers to make four more fire stations functional. The MC already has sites for the establishment of the fire stations. Following this, the General House of the MC had unanimously passed the proposal and sent it to the Punjab Government in 2021 but nothing happened in this direction.

The firemen of MC claim that they have to attend calls regarding fire outbreak in industrial areas and farms in the city’s periphery. But all the fire tenders and infrastructure are stationed inside the city.

On September 16, 2023, after a meeting with the local industrialists, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann issued instructions to set up a fire station at the old Focal Point on Mehta Road for the safety of the industrial area. Now, two fire tenders have been permanently stationed at Focal Point on Mehta Road.

Dilbagh Singh, Additional Divisional Fire Officer (ADFO), said, “An estimate of Rs 2.50 crore was prepared for the construction of fire station building and the tender process had started. The fire tenders and other infrastructure have been provided from the existing fire stations. No additional staff has been recruited yet.”

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