The Himalayan Times, 8 Nov 2017
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has issued a circular to all district coordination committees, requesting them to provide information regarding availability of fire engines in local levels under their domain.
An official at the Fire Control and Disaster Management Section said the DCCs were also asked to mention the present condition of fire engine if the local levels had any. “We issued a circular to the DCCs today, asking them to provide the details within seven days,” he informed. The government is planning to provide to the local levels at least one fire engine, depending on the need.
According to the MoFALD, only 122 out of 263 municipalities had fire engines until the end of fiscal 2016-17. The government had allocated budget to 34 local levels for the procurement fire engines last fiscal.
Despite the provision requiring each municipality to have at least one fire engine in existing laws, more than half of the local levels seem to depend on bare hands to fight fire incidents. It is mandatory for a municipality to have a fire engine, excavator, roller, dozer and garbage truck.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, on an average, fire hazards are responsible for property loss worth 350 million rupees and 43 deaths annually. On an average, a year sees more than 1,500 fire incidents. A report released by MoHA shows that the country recorded as many as 67 deaths, 98 injures and property damage worth over Rs 1.7 billion in 958 incidents of fire in 2016 alone.
The major causes of fire include poor handling of candles and burning cigarette butts, short circuit, cooking gas leakage and gas cylinder or stove explosion, among others.