ISLAMABAD: A project to establish four sub-fire stations in various parts of the capital, which was initiated in 2008, is still waiting for budget allocation.
The fire stations were to be set up at G-11, I-9, I-14 and Model Town Humak.
Sources in the directorate of emergency and disaster management said despite repeated requests funds were not being provided to start the project. However, plots for the sub-fire stations have been allocated by the CDA planning wing.
Under a project initiated in 2008, the fire stations were to be established at G-11, I-9, I-14 and Model Town Humak
The CDA was supposed to provide funds for the project but after 2017 the directorate was devolved to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).
But the MCI is already facing shortage of funds and unable to launch the project. Without setting up sub-stations, fire tenders cannot reach a place on time to extinguish a fire beyond the sector area.
MCI’s firefighters said there was a need for at least six new fire stations to deal with emergencies in Islamabad.
“After formation of the MCI, Islamabad has come under our limit but honestly speaking we can’t respond to any emergency timely in rural area such as Tarnol, Rawat, Khana Pul, Tramri and the entire Zone IV where a large number of housing schemes have been established.”
They said on a daily basis the control room of the MCI received calls from rural areas but “we face difficulty in reaching there.” They said there was even no fire station near Islamabad International Airport.
An official of the MCI said as per original PC-1 the estimated cost of the project was Rs408.178 million which now needed to be revised.
An official in the directorate of emergency said currently over 200 posts, mainly of firefighters, were lying vacant while official residences meant for officers of the directorate had been allotted to irrelevant staff. The official said the directorate had 25 fire tenders and four snorkels.
He said recently the federal government lifted a ban on construction of high-rise buildings in the capital but no focus was paid to strengthen the directorate.
“Currently, our snorkels can reach up to only 68 metres that mean we can’t handle any emergency in a high-rise building,” said the official.
When contacted, Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz acknowledged that there was a need to strengthen the emergency and disaster management directorate.
“Now entire Islamabad is in the limits of this directorate, so we have been making efforts to set up sub-fire stations,” he said, adding the MCI was yet to get funds from the federal government.
“We tried to get a project to strengthen the directorate included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but to no avail,” he said and added that the issue would again be taken up with the federal government.
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019