The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We Ask You Answer
No price tag on vital service

Santosh Chakravarty,
Unique Park.

Why not' When all services — from health to education to justice — have become “commodities”, let fire-fighting be added to the list. However, the rates should be reasonable and the firemen must be prompt and punctual.

Ujjal Bhattacharyya,
CIT Road.

The basic motto of the fire department is to save lives and check damages. No matter where the mishap occurs, fire-fighters risk their lives to save others in danger. I believe, the fire department should not charge a fee for fighting blazes in business establishments. Their service at any given moment of time cannot be valued in terms of money. The fire department can definitely charge fees for holding counselling courses on fire-safety measures in business complexes.

Arunava Bose Chowdhury,

The proposal of slapping fees on the owners of commercial establishments for dousing flames is logical. In fact, this step should have been taken much earlier. It is strange how owners of business houses dare to stock inflammable goods in crowded localities and, thereby, invite disaster. Despite stocking kerosene, paints and chemicals, most of these owners neither maintain adequate fire-safety measures nor do they keep a check on their electric wiring. Hence, it is the owners who are responsible for outbreaks of fire and there is nothing wrong if fire-fighting fees are charged from them.

Bhupen Bose,
Dum Dum Park.

Certainly yes. The fire department helps business establishments save a lot by recovering important and valuable documents and property from flames.

Firemen risk their lives to stop the blaze from going out of control and their prompt action helps business establishments in reducing their damage. All business establishments keep extinguishers to put off a small fire but a big accident needs the fire department’s assistance.

Tapan Pal,
Budge Budge.

Yes. The traders should pay through their nose for making their establishments fire-prone – by stacking inflammable articles and not replacing old power lines. The fee may achieve what preaching could not — making them responsible.

Reena Mukherjee,
South Sinthi Road.

Yes. The fire department must charge a fee for fighting blazes in such areas as this will sensitise people to be more careful about their premises and educate them in ways to avert accidents caused by ignorance and callousness.

Debyani Basu,

I agree with the proposal as long as common people are exempted because it would be a burden on them. It is known to all that our state government is running on a shoestring budget. One of the steps recently introduced to tackle the situation is introduction of fees for fire services. Businessmen should keep in mind that the money they have to give by way of fees is much less than the property they would be able to keep safe with the support of the fire services department. This give-and-take policy should be introduced on a long term basis for businessmen.

Prasanta Kumar Ghosh,

No trade licence should be given to business establishments by the local bodies unless fire-fighting arrangements are there to douse small fires. But in case of a big fire, the government should impose fines on the business establishment concerned. For the first five years after they start off, though, they should be exempted from paying fire-fighting charges. The fire department should levy service charges to maintain and equip itself with sophisticated instruments. Modern gadgets don’t come for nothing.

Piyal Mukherjee,
Lake Town.

It has been seen that non-observance of minimum safety measures by business establishments is responsible for fire in their units. It has also been noticed that lack of maintenance of electric lines sometimes result in short-circuits which spark a fire. If the proposed fee is levied on business establishments for using the fire department’s services, it will ensure that the business houses observe minimum safety measures to avoid the financial hazard.

Diptimoy Ghosh,
Salt Lake City.

Since a fire causes the loss of property and life and it is caused accidentally, charging a fee will be like adding salt to the wound. This will hurt the sentiments of the affected people who are supposed to be charged for the blaze. However, if the business establishment is very large and only some portion has been destroyed owing to a fire, then the fire department may charge a reasonable fee. But if the business establishment is burnt to ashes, then, perhaps, it will not be desirable to charge a fee.

d if a hoax call is received by the fire department reporting a blaze, a fine must be imposed on the caller (if identified).

Ronak Pal,

It is a reproachable idea. If this step is implemented, it will tarnish the image of the fire brigade and its officials whose primary duty is to lend a helping hand to the public. Businessmen are the worst sufferers as they are reduced to paupers, losing everything in the devastation. So the hapless ones who bear the burnt of a catastrophe should not be charged a fee. It will be an injustice to them.

Sujit De,

Definitely not, for that would amount to double taxation. The government collects taxes for providing citizens with security, emergency services, civic amenities etc. They can hike taxes but cannot charge for something that has already been paid for. A state that claims to be a welfare one cannot possibly kick the very ground on which it stands.

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