By Sapam Tarangchhen
IMPHAL: March 6: As the season of March-April is the time of conflagrations in the state, the people need to be highly alerted during this time.
This was stated by Divisional Officer in charge of the Imphal Fire Service station, Laishram Nabachand. He further said that the state headquarter located near Mapal Kangjeibung not only covers the twin districts of Imphal East and West but also to areas like Nambol, Sekmai and other peripherals.
This reporter had talked with the officer ahead of the April 14 “Fire Service Day.”
The Fire Service Day is observed every year on April 14 under the ministry of Home Affairs and the week from April 14 to 20 as the fire service week.
Elaborating further, he said on April 14, 1944 a freighter which was carrying mixed cargo caught fire and was destroyed killing several people including firemen and leaving several people handicapped for life. And in memory of this day, April 14 is being observed as Fire Service Day.
Coming back to the issues confronting Manipur Fire Service at present, he said that the department has been functioning without a full-fledged director for more than ten years. “Nevertheless, we are glad that we have an in-charge director”, he further added.
However, he lamented that the post of joint director continues to remain vacant.
“Of the total work force of 281 staff, there is only two women clerical staff”, he opined and further decried that there is no process of recruitment of women staff.
He also communicated that the state has altogether 16 fire stations, one each in the nine districts and the remaining seven in sub divisions and continued that there are also plans to establish four new stations one each at Yairipok, Tadubi, Saikhul and Noney and further asserted that each station has eight to 11 staff.
Every staff of the department is happy with their job, he observed.
However, there are instances of the personnel of the fire tenders had to face mob fury including stoning, which is really unfortunate, he observed and continued that the public need to understand that the fire tenders are their friends.
There are instances when mobs burn down houses of crime accused, and during such instances, the fire tenders are sometimes attacked by the mob for trying to douse the fire, he observed.
The Divisional Officer of the Imphal Fire Station said that in such situation, the fire tenders had opted to call police for help further continued that Manipur Fire Service is equipped with advanced equipment in comparison with other states.
He further said that Manipur Fire Service has high pressure pump, water mist technology, Silmon Snorkel among other advanced equipments. However, there is a need for implementation of the Manipur Fire Service Act, 1993.
Under this Act, anyone disrupting a fire tender’s service can be punished with three months’ jail term or Rs 5000 fine or both.
He further asserted that there is a need of establishing more fire stations and the also to support them so as to ensure the fire tenders to reach the fire spot.