| Blaze-safe |
Jorhat, Sept. 7: The elusive fire tender which visits Majuli on a ferry only as part of a VVIP convoy, will soon find a home on the river island.
The Majuli administration has allotted a plot for setting up the island’s first fire station.
Since Majuli does not have a fire-fighting mechanism of its own, a fire tender is shipped to the island every time there is a VVIP visit.
Majuli subdivisional officer (civil) Deepak Handique said the state fire organisation had asked the island administration for a plot of land early this year.
The SDO said the director of Assam Fire Service, who is also the additional director-general of state police, Dilip Bora, and Jorhat superintendent of police, Debajit Hazarika, visited the island earlier this year to survey the plot and subsequently two bighas were allotted at Garmur. The plot was adjacent to an area allotted to build a permanent building for the office of the subdivisional police officer.
Handique said it was important that Majuli should have a fire station, considering its geographic location.
He said it would be difficult to rush fire tenders to Majuli from mainland Jorhat if a major fire broke out, as the tardy waterways was the only means of communication.
Whenever a VVIP visits Majuli, a fire tender has to be brought in from Jorhat, as part of the security arrangement.
Handique said so far no major fire had broken out on the island, apart from a few minor incidents during which the residents had managed to extinguish the blaze.
It helps that Majuli is not thickly populated and the houses are light changhars (raised from ground about at least 10 feet). Besides, there are no large commercial establishments and not too many electricity lines.
But with new buildings coming up, Majuli will soon make it to the fire hazard list.
Assam has 70 full-fledged fire stations and 20 ad hoc stations but according to the latest survey by the Centre, the actual requirement is around 1,400 fire stations.
According to norms, there should be a fire station every 10 square km in urban areas and 50 square km in rural areas.