The Bata showroom fire seems to have prompted the move

The recent fire in the Bata showroom in the busy commercial hub at Dwarakanagar seems to have prompted the State Government to ultimately give the nod for the long-pending demand for setting up of 15 fire stations in the city. There are only three fire stations – Suryabaugh, Marripalem and Peda Gantyada - in the city at present as against the requirement which is as high as 30.

The proposal for setting up of 15 fire stations was first sent way back in 2005. Even at that time, the requirement was double that number going by the population of the city. Financial constraints seem to have delayed the proposal.

The population of the city was 14.35 lakhs according to the 2001 census. There should be at least one fire station for every 50,000 population in urban areas according to the rules. The projected population of the city, according to the latest census, is estimated to cross 20 lakhs. The area has also increased enormously after the city graduated into Greater Visakhapatnam with the merger of outlying panchayats.

The new stations are proposed to be in the following areas: TSR Complex, Maddilapalem, MVP Colony, Madhurawada, Arilova, Pendurthy, Kancharapalem, NAD Kotha Road junction, Malkapuram, Sheela Nagar, Kurmannapalem, Gajuwaka junction, Gajuwaka Main Road and Paravada. In addition to these, there is a proposal to convert the existing District Fire Office near Old Head Post Office junction into a fire station.

“We have sent a proposal for setting up of 26 fire stations in the city and the Government has agreed to sanction 15,” District Fire Officer S.V. Narasimham said.

The remaining areas identified for setting up of new fire stations are: Rushikonda, Akkayyapalem, Peda Waltair, Dandu Bazaar, Murali Nagar, Madhavadhara, 104 Area, Yarada, Lankelapalem, Gopalapatnam, China Mushidiwada, Simhachalam foothills and Duvvada. The total cost of operation of the 15 new fire stations is estimated at Rs.49.50 crores. The cost of operating 26 stations is estimated at Rs.85 crores. The capital expenditure for setting up each fire station is estimated at Rs.3 crores and the annual recurring expenditure at Rs.27 lakh.

Modernisation plan

“We also have plans for modernisation of the existing fire stations. In view of the presence of chemical industries and the pharma city coming up, we have sent a proposal for acquisition of a Hazmuth vehicle for fighting such fires. The specialised vehicle costing Rs.7.5 crores each has been introduced at Patancheru recently,” Mr. Narasimham said.

A proposal has also been sent for acquisition of two water bowsers, which have a capacity of holding up to 16,000 litres as against conventional tenders which have 4,500-litre capacity.

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