The 26 new fire stations proposed for the city may take even longer than the projected 10 years, with no land available for the construction of as many as 17 of them, an internal report of the fire brigade department has revealed.
According to the civic administration, the fire brigade department is one of the most overworked in the BMC, thanks to the rising population, hectic pace of industrialisation, the additional infrastructure that comes with it, and the 3,000 highrises looming over the city.
To keep up with the city and its firefighting needs, the department needs an additional 26 fire stations in the island city and its suburbs. At present, the city has 33 stations. The BMC needs Rs 220 crore from the exchequer to fund the new stations.
On an average, there are 600 fire incidents every month, including both minor and major kinds. The administration believes that the proposed fire stations would help improve the fire brigade’s response time, with fire engines and tankers being able to reach the accident spots faster, if there are more stations distributed throughout the city.
Of the 26 proposed locations, there is no reserved plot for fire stations at 17 spots. “Only eight plots have been reserved so far, including those at Kandivli (East), Jogeshwari (West), Dahisar (West), Ghatkopar (East), Ghatkopar (West), Kanjurmarg (West) and Vikhroli (East) near Hariyali village.
The plot for the station at Malabar Hill is locked in litigation. The fire department has proposed that the new development should include reserved plots for the fire stations,” said a fire officer, on condition of anonymity. A N Verma, chief fire officer, was not available for the comment.
The proposal for the fire stations will be tabled before the standing committee soon. Yashodhar Phanse, chairman of the committee, said, “I will try to sort out this issue, as the city needs more stations.”
He suggested that the fire brigade department should keep at least a single fire engine in every ward office, to reach an accident spot as soon as fire breaks out. He said he would write to the municipal commissioner about his suggestion.