The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 19 , 2014
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Few personnel to combat disaster

Shillong, March 18: Meghalaya, with a population of over three million, has only 875 personnel to counter fire and disaster-like situations and it does not have a training centre for empowering fire-fighters either.

In a written reply to a question raised by Opposition legislator John Leslee K. Sangma, Meghalaya home minister Roshan Warjri today said in the Assembly that the fire service under the home department has only 109 fire tenders in the state with a total strength of 875 personnel.

Sangma said fire service in the state was in a sorry state as the personnel have to work under various constraints, including lack of infrastructure, with buildings of fire stations in a dilapidated condition.

The home minister, however, informed the House that the state government had already moved the Union ministry of home affairs for setting up a training centre to impart training to the fire-fighters. East Khasi Hills district has only 229 personnel and 27 fire tenders. The population of Shillong has rapidly grown. Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills district has 172 personnel and 19 fire tenders.

The number of fire tenders and strength of fire personnel in other districts include West Khasi Hills (10 fire tenders and 57 personnel), South West Khasi Hills (three fire tenders and 29 personnel), West Jaintia Hills (11 fire tenders and 104 personnel), East Jaintia Hills (four fire tenders and 28 personnel), Ri-Bhoi (12 fire tenders and 93 personnel), East Garo Hills (eight fire tenders and 39 personnel), North Garo Hills (three fire tenders and 17 personnel), South West Garo Hills (four fire tenders and 46 personnel) and South Garo Hills (eight fire tenders and 52 personnel).

Sangma demanded that the state government should further strengthen the personnel as it is required in view of the growing population in the state. He sought to know if all fire stations were functioning in the state.

Warjri said all fire stations were functioning and the fire tenders are placed at strategic locations only during law and order problems for immediate intervention if a contingency arose.