Disaster management unit lacks expertise

Published Jan 25, 2012 12:05am

More than three years after its establishment, Islamabad’s main civic agency has no expertise to meet any man-made or natural disaster. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: More than three years after its establishment, the emergency and disaster management directorate of Islamabad's main civic agency has no expertise to meet any man-made or natural disaster.

Set up in 2008, the directorate has three wings: fire, rescue and safety audit and prevention. The safety audit and prevention (SA&P) wing has the mandate to ensure that all buildings are safe from disasters. However, the officials handling the unit do not have the requisite qualifications.

Documents made available to this reporter showed that assistant director SA&P should have a bachelor's degree with five years' experience in fire and rescue and two years in fire audit prevention. However, a physical training officer (PTO) has been hired as assistant director (industries) in the unit.

The industrial area, according to an official, has 700 units ranging from steel, flour mills, food, building material industries, pharmaceutical companies, hardware manufacturing industries and warehouses. "Now they all are at the mercy of the physical training instructor," he added.

It may be noted that the same official also heads the disaster management academy.

The official added that the Capital Development Authority was to hire the head of SA&P wing from the market; however, an assistant director working on contract in the training administration department was picked for the vital job.

According to the documents, the officer should have seven years of experience in fire department of which three years should be in fire audit and prevention.

The deputy director (head) of the SA&P wing should have attended basic and advance firefighting and station fire officer courses besides having certification from the National Examination Board in safety audit.

However, Ammaduddin, the deputy director SA&P, told Dawn: "I was posted after fulfilling all requisite criteria and my posting was a board decision. I am holding an MBA in human resource since it is an administrative post besides for technical matters I have the technical experience of being associated with the fire prevention job for the last five years."

When approached, the director disaster management, Asif Majeed noted: "I am holding MSc forestry in which fire course is part of the training and I also taught at the Punjab academy for forestry officials."

When contacted, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal said: "I know he (Ammaduddin) is not hired as per the requirement of the post and I will look into the matter." But the CDA chief added that he was not part of these postings.

"These officials were appointed by my predecessor Imtiaz Inayat Elahi and we don't undo any move made by our predecessors."

Mr Iqbal said even the director E&DM was from the forestry wing of the Punjab department.

"When I was posted in Punjab irrigation department, the director of the wing was also working in the forestry department," said the chairman. Despite repeated attempts, the PTO was not available for comments.

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