J&K Fire service department lacks manpower to meet challenges in cities
Despite large scale urbanization in Jammu and Kashmir, and building of high rise towers particularly in Jammu, the state fire services department still does not have the necessary infrastructure, manpower, and equipment and vehicles to meet the challenges. Most importantly the change in weather has also caused rise in natural calamities like landslides, and floods and in such cases the state firer and emergency services have not been able to deliver the services expected from them.
In fact out of the 3600 sanctioned posts in the department across the state, 1700 are vacant, and the state government has done nothing to hire the new recruits. Three years back a process was started to hire recruits but it has not been completed. Department officials admit to shortage of manpower, and allege that for the last thirty years there has been no recruitment, and with number of people retiring the day is not far when the service will become defunct. There are 176 fire stations which are operational across the state, and in most of them only half of the sanctioned staff of 12 has been been appointed. There is shortage of fire officers across the districts, and in half there is no designated officer, and additional charge is given to most.
It is because of the lack of manpower, and other infrastructure that fire incidents in Srinagar, Jammu and other parts of the state are not handled in a proper manner, and there are frequent deaths, and loss of property which could be prevented if the government equips, and empowers the fire service department. Not only fire incidents but there are also several mandatory inspections which the department has to conduct apart from drills for safety purposes but lack of staff ensures that everything falls the wayside due to lack of resources.