Leaders demand hydraulic platforms to garland Ambedkar statues

BMC fire department says no free service, pay Rs 18,500 fee per Snorkel.

The BMC fire department has been inundated with unique requests by political leaders on the occasion of Ambedkar death anniversary. They all want to borrow Snorkel hydraulic platforms to garland statues in various parts of the city.

The requests, however, may not be honoured as according to a circular issued by then municipal commissioner Sadashiv Tinaikar over 20 years ago, the fire brigade cannot offer such services for free.

"The municipal commissioner said barring Shiv Jayanti, when free fire services are provided at Shivaji Park and Gateway, the fire brigade is not allowed to provide Snorkels for free," said chief fire officer Suhas Joshi.

The department, however, is worried. "This is a delicate situation considering the occasion and the politics around it. We offer free fire services only for state-level events and when Prime Minister or President is involved. This is the first year we have received requests for this occasion," said a senior fire brigade officer.

"We can't just give our equipment for all occasions, we even denied a request for Navy Day celebrations this year," he said.

Additonal municipal commissioner (in-charge of fire services) Manisha Mhaiskar said, "Yes, we have received requests from parties but the decision rests with the chief fire officer."

It has been decided that interested parties will have to cough up Rs 18,500 per lift.

"We have written to those who have made the requests that they will have to pay. They will have to deposit Rs 60,500, in addition to the Rs 18,500 fee," said Joshi.

Some of the known requests for Snorkels have come from Republican Party of India, the M-west ward officer and an organisation that would like to garland the Ambedkar statue near Oval Maidan.

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