Come the windy, dry season, spates of fire incidents tend to escalate. In the aftermath of the infernos, destruction leaves everyone aghast. The sorry thing is that after blazes occur, as they do with regular frequency during this time of the year, relief is very late in coming leaving the victims in a dire strait. The fire fighting preparedness with adequate trained fire fighters are woefully short of the actual need. That is the reason why the fire brigades are hard put to fight the fires that occur unrelentingly in various parts of the country. Major incidents of fire took place the other day with as many as 250 houses gutted and 85 families affected by a huge fire that spread quickly in Siraha district. The damage from another big fire in a jute mills in Morang district was to the tune of Rs. 20 million. It is worrisome that most of the industries in the countries do not have state-of-the-art fire-fighting equipment. Since fires take a heavy toll year in and out, it stands to reason that the concerned be prepared to fight fires and to possess the necessary logistics to do so. Again, as the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure, it would be prudent on the part of all concerned to take the necessary precautions. Such precautions would be as simple as not letting little children play with matches, and also to thoroughly douse fire used after cooking.
In any case, as fires are inevitable, there should also be the necessary logistics to assist the victims of fires. In the case of the 85 families affected by the Siraha blaze, which spread quickly because of the strong winds, they have been left for the most part to fend for themselves.This should not have been allowed to happen. They should be provided with relief as soon as possible with the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter. This same story gets repeated every year as regards the blaze victims. This should not be allowed to happen, and immediate shelter too should be identified for the blaze prone districts of the Terai. Every VDC should have a stock of food in reserve to meet the needs during natural calamaties also.
Among the various measures to be taken to mitigate the damages from fire, the number of trained fire fighters and fire-fighting equipment should be
increased. These fire fighters should be placed at strategic locations all over the country so that they can make rapid response whenever a fire is reported. It has been reported that many of the fire engines are out of order, which tells of the indifference that
the government has for such regular occurrences
like fire. Many fires go out of control as the fire
engines are unable to reach the fire sites on time. Lack or roads and also their poor condition are also responsible for many fires getting out of control. Thus, there is a need to have more and better roads making them accessible for fire engines in time
of need. What this calls for is for fire engines and
fire fighters to be stationed according to the
households, which could probably encompass a VDC or more. That could decrease the response time substantially, and help control the inferno that would minimise the damages.
The tranquility has been disturbed in Kathmandu valley of late because explosives have found their way clandestinely. Even as the cases of explosives being used have increased, the police claim that they have stepped up their operation against them. If statistics are to be believed, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office reveals that cases related to explosives have increased four-fold in 2068 B.S. when compared to the previous year. This shows that anti-social and other elements are smuggling in explosives, eluding the security forces, to further their own disruptive ends. This is a serious threat, as only some time back the explosives detonated outside the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) office in Babar Mahal killing three people. It must be viewed with alarm as blasts in public vehicles or crowded marketplaces will have the power to kill and maim scores of people.
The police may have upped their vigilance, but it is still not enough for a sprawling valley where tens of thousands of people are on the move to and from their destination. Taking the seriousness of the issue and the May 27 deadline for the promulgation of the statute, the security plan needs serious review.