HC seeks Delhi government's response on plea to strengthen DFS

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New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a response from the state government on a plea seeking directions to fill vacant posts in the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) and introduce programmes in line with Goa's Emergency Monitoring System in the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao asked the Delhi Fire Service to file a response on the plea and listed the matter for November 29.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), which was formed on June 30, 1997, in the aftermath of the fire tragedy on June 13, 1997 at Uphaar cinema here. Fifty nine people had died in the incident.

"DFS needs to strengthen its Fire Prevention Wing (inspection, awareness, and training) so that in future, fire events similar to that at Uphaar can be prevented," the plea said.

"Because of lack of firemen in DFS, a 12-hour shift by a fireman makes him physically and psychologically tired. He will not be able to effectively do his duty since he is not having adequate rest and is induced with stress."

Introducing programmes like 24/7 Safe Goa Emergency Monitoring System in Delhi will provide an effective response plan by monitoring and preventing fires, which will reduce loss of lives and physical assets, the plea said.

As the population in Delhi is increasing, unauthorized colonies have mushroomed, the number of high-rise buildings has increased and therefore, in such a rapidly changing scenario, manpower crunch in the fire department will hamper the response and the rescue operations, the petitioner said.