I am a resident of Faridabad. So, there is this area named, Greater Faridabad where a sleuth of High rise residential towers are coming up. Omaxe, Puri Constructions, BPTP Builders and several others have turned the farmlands out there into clusters of tall and luxurious apartments. And, no doubt the development in the region has really picked up in the recent years with a large number of families having shifted to these apartments. The population there is booming owing to influx from a lot of neighbouring areas especially New Delhi and NCR.
Now, when we are talking about such new, modern and luxurious apartments in tall buildings, a very critical parameter has to be addressed. What is it? It’s security of life from sudden unpredicted disasters- Like earthquakes or massive fire breakouts.
It happened last year. My Maa and I were asleep in the room when a huge uproar broke out. A lot of people were shouting. I opened my eyes to find myself and Maa drenched in sweat. The temperature in the room was damn hot! I rushed and opened the balcony door to find out what the heck was going on. The apartment above ours was on fire.
We live on the 8th Floor of the building. There are a total of 18 Floors. The Fire was on the 9th Floor. And, for the next two hours, the fire could not be tamed or controlled by the firefighting bodies. Why? Because there was no High Rise Fire Fighting vehicle in Faridabad! None of their vehicles could actually reach the heights of over the fifth floor.
So, imagine the grim situation. This is the best example of security through obscurity. The Government had allowed the building of High rise buildings in the area despite not being ready for the disasters that may follow. We were fortunate that no one lost lives, and the fire did not spread. But, just in case had the fire went unbridled for some more time, the firefighting units would have had only one option left- To stand there in tandem with us moaning over the disaster.
It is because of such lack of preparedness of ours to prevent and tackle such disasters that we lose as many as 59 lives on a daily basis in India to Fire disasters. We simply don’t have enough personnel. And, what personnel we do have, it does not have enough equipment and required tools. And, in fact, equipment we have are mostly antiquated and unfit for the present alarming needs.
A recent report by NDRF, National Disaster Response Force quotes that our nation faces a paucity dearth of Fire Fighting Stations by as much as 97.6% of the desired numbers! That means, whatever marginal, worn-out and limited resources we have only account for 2.4% of the needed count of Fire stations.
Needless to say, the majority of these would be commissioned at the major cities, towns and highly populous areas. So what about the rest of the population? The constitution reads and underscores the Fundamental Right to Life. But, isn’t this gargantuan neglect and depreciation of this domain of firefighting a contravention of the aforementioned right itself? Ask those 59 people who die due to this neglect every single day in our India.
However, while castigating the authorities and the respective governments, there is another very crucial pillar that needs to buttress this movement. It is us, the citizenry. How many of us were actually much enthusiastic when a fire security week was organized in our society, school, college or vicinity? I hope most of us would have at least heard of those. When I was at school and in 11th grade, the local Fire Fighters had organized one for us. I can vividly remember how most of us actually tried to bunk the session as we could have just hung around enjoying a free period.
Even when one was organized in my society, hardly fifty people participated. In a society housing almost a thousand people, only fifty people came out to check what life-saving lessons could they learn. And, most of these too were women. This gives me an itch. Are we even looking at the gravity of the situation? We simply don’t pay any significant importance to our lives, and one day it may turn out to be our greatest folly. It is of utmost need that even we should realize our role in this big picture and join hands to tackle this critical imperative.
At last, I would like to extend my gratitude to Honourable Member of Parliament, Jay Panda for being the only parliamentarian to have at least raised a demand to look into the matter in the lower House of the Parliament. I hope the matter gains some traction and witnesses some action in the times to come. I sincerely wish the concerned authorities and the incumbent Central and State Governments will not keep waiting for big blunder to happen before we wake up to the reality.
I am aware that there may be endless other articles that may have been written on this pressing issue. So, why am I writing this again? I’m writing this one in the hope that may be it would help another one like me become aware of the murky and dangerous future we are heading towards. And, in case some of us will be aware, maybe someone will be able to bring about some change and solutions as well.
Wishing everyone a safe and lovely day ahead.