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All taluks in State to have fire stations soon

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BIG PLANS: Director General of Police, Fire Force, and Commandant General, Home Guards, Jija Madhavan Hari Singh, addressing presspersons in Madikeri on Wednesday. Kodagu Home Guards Commandant Maj. O.S. Chingappa (retd.) is seen.
BIG PLANS: Director General of Police, Fire Force, and Commandant General, Home Guards, Jija Madhavan Hari Singh, addressing presspersons in Madikeri on Wednesday. Kodagu Home Guards Commandant Maj. O.S. Chingappa (retd.) is seen.

Staff Correspondent

The number will reach 206, including the existing 150; more uniforms for Home Guards being considered

Jija Madhavan Hari Singh visits Madikeri, Gonicoppa

Recruits will join duty soon, she says

Madikeri: Director General of Police, Fire Force, and Commandant General, Home Guards, Jija Madhavan Hari Singh, said here on Wednesday that there was a plan to set up fire stations in all the taluks and headquarters of the districts depending on the availability of land in the State.

She was speaking to presspersons after inspecting the Home Guards Commandant’s office.

Ms. Singh visited the fire station here on Tuesday to take stock of things. With the implementation of the plan, the number of such stations would reach 206 in the State, including the 150 functioning stations, she said.

She sought the cooperation of the district administrations and the local administrations to allot land at suitable places to set up such stations.

Ms. Singh, who visited the Gonicoppa fire station on Tuesday, said she was unhappy with the arrangements as the existing infrastructure was poor. She expressed concern over the narrow road leading to the fire station here, saying modern vehicles could not be allotted to Kodagu in view of such deficiencies.

For instance, a heavily equipped rescue van would cost around Rs. 1 crore and it would not be able to move on such poor roads. There was a shortage of nearly 3,000 officers, staff and personnel in the fire force in the State, which had been brought down to around 1,200 now. Recruits were about to join duty soon. There was a shortage of 148 fire engines in the State for the existing fire stations, she said.

As far as Home Guards was concerned, Ms. Singh said that there were 25,000 personnel on the rolls in the State. As many as 17,000 each Home Guards were deployed on election duty in two phases that concluded in the State recently and they had done a commendable job, she noted.

To a question on providing additional uniforms (now Home Guards get only one pair every year), Ms. Singh said the issue was being looked into. Shoes and other equipment needed to gear up to meet various law and order situations were being provided.

Home Guards could not be exposed to direct risk during operations like the police force as they formed the fourth line of defence after the KSRP, DAR, civil police, she said.

There was no provision for providing them with weapons either, although they were given weapons training. Asked why a mechanised boat was not sanctioned for Kodagu for use during floods as promised earlier, Ms. Singh said there was no response for the tender invited in the past. A boat, however, would be given to the district before the onset of monsoon. Honoraria for Home Guards had been increased to Rs. 150 a day, she said in reply to another question. An office building for the Home Guards Commandant, with Central assistance, was being constructed near the fire station here.

Ms. Singh said any government organisation could avail itself of the services of the Home Guards as many departments had started using their services. Some of the departments were Transport, Horticulture, Bangalore City Traffic Police, Bangalore University, Postal Department and Youth Services and Sports. “Home Guards render ‘nishkama seva’ (selfless service),” she noted. Ms. Singh was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour by the DAR when she arrived at the Home Guards office here.

Chief Fire Officer H.S. Varadarajan and Kodagu Home Guards Commandant Maj. O.S. Chingappa (retd.) were present.

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