After six long years, Gujarat Fire Services gets funds, equipment

Gandhinagar: As many as six long years after the State Government passed the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act in 2013, it has now allocated the required funds and manpower for the Gujarat Fire Services Authority.

The motive behind setting up such services was that many municipalities and talukas as well as villages have inadequate or no fire services at all. Even in major cities, there is a shortage of manpower, equipment and fire tenders, and in such a case the state-level service would work like a buffer system.

The State Government has now approved post for District Fire Officers, Assistant Fire Officers and Firemen, said M F Dastoor, the Director of Gujarat Fire Service Authority. He added that 32 district fire stations will be set up with 672 firemen and in the first phase 100 types of vehicles, including mini fire tankers, have been approved by the State Government.

Dastoor added that these district fire offices will be connected with a wireless network. The district offices will report to five regional fire offices having stations at Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Gandhidham.

New manpower has been approved for the regional offices and each office will have 10 persons to run regional fire offices, along with the in-charge regional fire officer, said NP Pandya, Deputy Director.

The Deputy Director also told First India that recently the advertisement for fire officers and firemen are being released by the Gujarat Public Service Commission and Gujarat Subordinate Selection Service Board. Till the state fire service get its required manpower and equipment, the services of 32 nagarpalikas will be taken.

The State Government had enforced the Act in 2013 only after a directive by the Gujarat High Court. A PIL was moved in 2004 by advocate Amit Panchal before the high court pleading to direct the State to provide adequate fire equipment, infrastructure and staff to mitigate disasters.

Though the court had directed way back in 2011 and the government had to repeatedly assure the court that it will implement the orders and soon deploy adequate staff to strengthen the fire safety services.