Govt to enhance its firefighting capacity

Kathmandu, September 14

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has said that the number of municipalities with fire engine will reach 122 within the current fiscal 2016/17.

According to MoFALD, only 71 of the total 217 municipalities have 100 fire engines as of now. “The government has allocated budget for the procurement of additional 34 fire engines within the current fiscal and received 17 fire engines from India as gift on August 24.

After 51 more municipalities get one fire engine each, the number of local bodies equipped with fire engine will reach 122,” said an official at the MoFALD.

Despite the provision requiring each municipality to have at least one fire engine, nearly half of the local bodies 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.

The official informed that the 17 fire engines recently gifted by India were provided to Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and Suryodaya, Laligurans , Beltar-Basaha, Shambunath, Mirchaiya, Dakshinkali, Madi, Gorkha , Bandipur, Lekhnath, Rampur, Pyuthan, Bheri Ganga, Krishna Nagar, Gaushala and Punarbas municipalities.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, on an average, fire hazards are responsible for property loss worth 350 million rupees and deaths of 43 people annually. On an average, a year sees more than 1,500 such fire incidents.

Nepal’s most devastating fire outbreaks include the fire at Singha Durbar in 1971, Bhrikuti Paper Factory fire in Nawalparasi district in 1984 and a massive fire in Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa in 2011. In 2008 and 2010, parts of Tehrhathum and Ilam were devastated by fire respectively.

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 2014 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.