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Fire service bosses removed

Two senior officials of the state fire and emergency services department were shunted out on Tuesday for allegedly sitting on applications for fire licence and granting permits to undeserving buildings.

Secretary R. Ramesh Kumar was sent to the civil service department while joint secretary S. Ahmad will be without a post till further order.

Officials at Nabanna said home secretary Basudeb Banerjee would hold additional charge of the fire department.

Sources said chief minister Mamata Banerjee was not happy with the two officials embroiled in a series of controversies, including alleged unnecessary procurement of equipment for the department.

“The secretary has been transferred. It was the chief minister’s prerogative (to transfer him),” fire service minister Javed Khan said on Tuesday evening.

Sources said the chief minister had summoned Khan and secretary Kumar on June 13. “She clearly expressed her disappointment over some of the activities of the department,” said an official.

Mamata had asked chief secretary Sanjay Mitra to remove Kumar and Ahmad on June 13, sources said. The file was ready by Friday evening and was signed on Monday.

Fire department sources said the officials were sitting on applications for no-objection certificates to several buildings in New Town, Salt Lake’s Sector V and areas along the Bypass. “There were complaints that the NOCs were issued for buildings that had violated norms,” said an official of the department.

There were charges of procuring equipment that were not needed. The list includes small fire tenders, breathing apparatus, modified motorbikes for narrow lanes and high-calibre lights.