The city has been witnessing fatal fire incidents due to lack of compliance of norms.
Mumbai: In an unprecedented move that comes on the heels of the Kamala Mills fire in which 14 lives were lost, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has made a special allocation of Rs 180 crore for upgrading firefighting and fire-safety mechanisms.
In order bolster its firefighting capabilities, the 2018 civic budget has provided for the recruitment of an additional 497 firefighters, including 97 firewomen, in the Fire Brigade. Also, several new projects costing more than Rs 150 crore have been undertaken to improve the department.
The city has been repeatedly witnessing fatal fire incidents due to lack of compliance of norms, faulty infrastructure, irregularities and failure on part of the department to keep a tab on violation of rules. Among the new projects announced by civic chief Ajoy Mehta in the BMC budget 2018-19 are the enhancement of emergency response under which the department aims to upgrade the capability of infrastructure of the department. Among the important purchases that would be made by the department are those of fire drones, robots, hydraulic rescue tools and water towers. The fire safety compliance cell, which was freshly formed after repeated tragedies, got a budget allocation of Rs 1.30 crore.
The civic body has proposed to build a state-of-the-art drill tower cum multi-utility training simulator, which will have facilities for hot fire training, confined search and rescue, vertical rescue and rope rescue. “The Drill Tower will be constructed at Wadala Training Centre, which will start in 2018-19,” reads the budget statement. The BMC has allocated Rs 1 crore for this centre.
The rise in fire incidents has forced the civic body to take into consideration the risks faced by firemen. Thus, the Accidental Insurance Coverage Scheme was announced in a first, to cover all the fire personnel. This insurance scheme will be first of is kind in the BMC, as no premium would be required to be paid by the fire personnel or by the BMC to the insurance company.