Two new fire stations in Navi Mumbai’s MIDC belt, which has 3,000 industries, have been ready for more than a year but await formal inauguration despite two major blazes this year
Even after battling two major industrial fires this year, it seems as if the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) region in Navi Mumbai, is not interested in increasing its firefighting mechanism. Two fire stations in Rabale and Nerul, made a year ago at a total cost of around Rs 35 crore, are still awaiting inauguration.
On November 8, a major fire in Pawane gutted three factories. The fire also damaged high-tension wires, due to which power supply was affected
“Both the newly constructed fire stations in MIDC region are awaiting inauguration since more than a year. The construction was completed a year ago,” said a source from the MIDC fire station.
The Nerul fire station, which is awaiting inauguration. Another one at Rabale is also ready. The two were constructed at a total cost of Rs 35 crore
Currently, MIDC has only one fully operational fire station to tackle fire mishaps. Whenever there is a major fire calamity, MIDC fire officials have to rely on the Navi Mumbai fire department, since they lack adequate infrastructure and manpower to tackle industrial fire accidents.
The MIDC’s fire station at Rabale, Navi Mumbai, which is awaiting inauguration
This was evident during a major fire in July, when as many as 20-25 fire tenders had to be called from Navi Mumbai and neighbouring regions, including Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan and Dombivli. Over the years, several big industrial set-ups have come up inside MIDC, however, the present fire infrastructure of MIDC remains dependent on services from across Navi Mumbai.
Officials from the Navi Mumbai fire department told mid-day that they often find it difficult to tackle industrial fire incidents without more active support from the MIDC fire department.
MIDC has only one operational fire station at Koparkhairne
“With every passing year, the industrial belt of MIDC has been growing. However, considering the presence of chemical, fuel and other industries in the area, the fire infrastructure of MIDC is very poor. During a major
fire call, it is we who have to take the lead as MIDC lacks the facilities,” said a senior fire official from the Navi Mumbai fire department.
Sources from the department also revealed that they find it difficult to tackle fire emergencies in the MIDC region, as they are often not familiar with the nature of industrial fires.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has its own fire stations at Belapur, Vashi, Airoli and Nerul with a staff of 140 personnel and 23 fire engines. On the other hand, there is only one fully functional fire station in MIDC near Koparkhairne, which is run by the Thane-Belapur Industries Association. The fire station has only two fire tenders and one ambulance, and is equipped with a total staff of around 25.
Meanwhile, the newly constructed fire stations at Rabale and Nerul have six new fire engines. “The new engines are used in case of any major fire emergency in MIDC. However, the fire stations are not yet functional, as it requires additional manpower. The set-up of the fire station is also incomplete,” said a an officer from the MIDC fire station.
‘Work is pending’
Speaking to mid-day, Santosh Warick, joint chief fire officer of MIDC, said, “No fire department in the state is highly upgraded or self-sufficient. As far as the fire stations of MIDC are concerned, they will be operational by the end of this year as some construction and recruitment work is pending. The new fire station at Rabale will also be the training centre for the MIDC fire service.”
Major fire incidents at MIDC
>> July 5: A major fire broke out in Sony’s processing unit near Pawane, as a result of which power supply to Vashi was suspended for more than four hours.
The fire at Sony’s processing unit in Pawane
>> November 8: Another major fire in the same region gutted three factories and the firefighting operation lasted for more than 15 hours. The fire also damaged high-tension wires, as a result of which, power supply to Vashi, Turbhe and Koparkhairne was disconnected for several hours.
The number of fire calls in the MIDC region every year. The calls are also regarding incidents like a tree fall, or animal rescues