Even as Malabar Hill citizens are fuming over the fire engine parked in the middle of their beloved Priyadarshini Park (PDP), the fire department has refused to back down.

The fire engine has been parked in Priyadarshini Park since June 14. File pic
The fire engine has been parked in Priyadarshini Park since June 14. File pic

Yesterday, Hemant Parab, deputy chief fire officer of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, filed an affidavit at the Bombay High Court, stating that the fire engine had been parked at the park for the locals' own good. The court is hearing a petition by Malabar Hill locals against the fire engine. The court will now hear the matter after the Diwali vacation.

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In the affidavit, Parab pointed out that 5,000 sqm in the park had been reserved for a fire station ever since the Development Plan (DP) of 1981 to 2001.

No other fire station
Parab further explained why Priyadarshani Park needed a fire engine for the locals' safety, "I say that in the vicinity, there is no other fire station for immediate assistance to the nearby residential localities. I see that the area of Malabar Hill, Nepean Sea Road has a large number of high-rise buildings, hence it is necessary for the said area to have special fire appliances."

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The reply added that according to guidelines, every area that has a population density of 50,000 people should have one fire appliance. The Malabar Hill locality, including Bhulabhai Desai Road, Walkeshwar Road, Nepean Sea Road, has more than two lakh people and, therefore, the area needs the fire engine.

Already at work
Parab stated that fire vehicles had to be deployed from Gowalia Tank, Byculla, Fort and Nariman Point, from where it could take anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes to reach the spot, depending on traffic conditions.

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Responding to the petitioners' demand that the fire engine be moved to another location, Parab said, "The vehicle has already successfully attended to 29 calls in the vicinity. This is the most suitable and convenient place for the fire station, keeping public safety and security in mind. Hence, the same cannot be relocated to any other place."

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The Deputy CFO also said that the fire engine will be of major assistance in case of any fire incident at the coastal road project (north and south-bound).

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Lastly, the affidavit states, "The areas in the vicinity comprise old buildings, that are not completely equipped with fire safety measures. This makes it all the more necessary and essential to have a fire station to cater to the safety requirements of the citizens residing therein."

29
Number of calls the fire engine has attended to


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