Only 65 firemen to protect city, almost 70% above 50 yrs of age
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As per the Ludhiana Fire Department, keeping in mind the growing population of the city, over 400 firemen are needed to keep the city safe. Shockingly, the city currently has just 65 firemen working with 13 fire brigades, with most of the firemen being above the age of 50. In addition to this massive shortage, the recruitment files of over 65 eligible and fit firemen have been gathering dust for the past two years.
On being contacted, Ludhiana MC Commissioner, R K Verma said, "I am not aware of the files of 65 firemen if any, but yes we do realise the shortage of the staff not only in fire brigade but every where. Fire department comes under essential services, so recruitment here will be done at top priority." Verma added that he will check regarding the pending files, if any, and that they were in the process of advertising new vacancies for the fire department.
Of the 65 men currently serving under the fire department, 45 men are above the age of 40 or 50 and suffering from various ailments like lung disease, heart problem and other life-style diseases. The age factor has proven to be a major liability on many occasions including the fire incident at Gulchaman Gali where firemen were taken to task by the residents and they had to chip in to get the rescue work done quickly. In many instances, the drivers of the fire engine has to lend a hand to extinguish the fire.
It needs to be mentioned that about two years back, a massive drive was conducted to recruit firemen. Around 65 were selected in the drive after they cleared the physical test and interviews, but the recruitment has not been done till date because of various 'political pressures'.