'Firefighting system at PMC HQ outdated'
National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) assistant commandant Sanjay Tyagi, who had submitted a detailed report over lacunae at Mantralay in Mumbai after the recent fire there, said yesterday the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) headquarters had an outdated firefighting system.
“The existing firefighting system needs major upgradation,” Tyagi said. Tyagi monitored the major part of the disaster mock drill that was held at the PMC headquarters between 3.30 pm and 4.30 pm yesterday with his 45 trained assistants. During the mock drill, the PMC employees and visitors were asked to gather on the lawn where they were given demonstrations on fire equipment and rescue operation, among others.
“PMC needs to upgrade its present fire fighting system to the latest, in each wing and on each floor,” Tyagi said. He also suggested installation of Public Announcement System on every floor.
“It was lacking in Mantralaya building during the fire incident,” Tyagi pointed out. “There is no proper linking of CCTV cams. The CCTV control room needs to be better equipped and have a good connectivity to get help from outside agencies in case of disaster. PMC main building also requires more exit gates and special exit system during emergency.”
The Municipal Comm-issioner said the PMC headquarters had already been audited and Rs 1.40 crore were approved for the safety plan for the entire complex. PMC’s disaster management officer Ganesh Sonune agreed that there was a need for an effective fire fighting system in the PMC main building.
“At present we only have 25 fire extinguishers in the building and 9 fire hydrants, which are not enough,” Sonune said. “A team of 50 volunteers at each of the 14 ward offices is being formed under NDRF’s guidance.”
Mayor bemoans poor response
Mayor Vaishali Bankar, who was present in the building during the mock drill, responded immediately and left her office when
she heard the first siren. Bankar lamented that several employees and visitors failed to vacate the headquarters during the mock drill. “This is not funny and everyone should obey orders during the drill. I expect everyone to cooperate during the next drill,” Bankar said.