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Half of firemen posts in Delhi Fire Service vacant

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IANS New Delhi
The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) is in a bad shape, with about 48 per cent of the posts in the fire fighting staff lying vacant, including over 50 per cent of fireman's posts.
According to data accessed by IANS through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the total sanctioned posts of the Fire Fighting Staff is 3,312, out of that 1,583 posts are vacant.
"Of the five sanctioned post for Chief Fire Officer, three are vacant. The Department is functioning with only four Divisional Officers, in place of nine sanctioned," the RTI reply said.
While the fireman or fire operator is considered a key part of the department, against the sanctioned 2,367 posts for fireman, only 1,114 are filled.
"A total of 1,253 posts of Fireman against the sanctioned 2,367 are vacant," it said.
The situation is no better for the communication staff -- against the sanctioned post of 133, 80 posts are vacant.
"A total of 65 posts for Radio Telephone Operator are vacant against the sanctioned 100. No person is assigned for the post of Communication Officer, Wireless Officer, Radio Operator, against the sanctioned two, one and six posts respectively," the RTI statement said.
While the administrative control of Delhi Fire Service is with the Delhi government, as per its website, the recruiting agencies for the Department are the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), the RTI said.
"The job of a fireman is to handle the equipment assigned to them. The government is also aware of these vacancies... The training for about 500 firemen is underway and expected to be over by June," a senior DFS official told IANS.
Explaining the impact of vacancies on the functioning, he said: "The only issue we face is that we have to send more vehicles to a particular place. There are ideally six persons on one vehicle. We now operate with four.
"So, to cope with the situation, we have to send more vehicles from different locations across the city as the available man force is distributed across the 61 fire stations in Delhi."
The official said that some fire vehicles and staff were kept as a back-up option at every fire station.
"We are not seeking help from other states. We are doing our best with the available resources. The vacancies may not be affecting our functioning or performance but do have an impact on the economy as more diesel is being used with more vehicles rushing to a spot."
Delhi has witnessed a number of fire incidents this year, including a blaze in Karol Bagh that killed 17 people.
"The number of calls will go up in summer. In May last year, the Department received up to 150 calls a day. It is the most troubling month in Delhi," the official said.
The DFS came into existence in 1942 after the amalgamation of two fire stations, which were separately functioning under the control of Delhi Municipal Committee and New Delhi Municipal Council.
After World War II, the DFS had in all four stations with 14 appliances and a staff of 186, according to the official website of the DFS.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at nivedita.singh@ians.in)
--IANS
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First Published: Mar 31 2019 | 10:52 AM IST

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