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“And we have no system of in-service training of firemen. Karachi fire brigade is still a neglected department where personnel lack even the basic equipment like gas masks, cutting tools, communication apparatus, and adequate training” he claimed.

City Chief Fire Officer Ehtesham Saleem told this reporter that their department would soon get two snorkels of 150-160feet by March-April this year and added that efforts were under way for acquiring a helicopter for the fire department.

Commenting on the fire incident at the PNSC building, he said there was a structural fault in the building as its platform was very wide, restricting fire tenders to go close to the building. The wide platform of the building restricted reach of the existing snorkel to the storeys that were on fire, he added.

He further said that as the PNSC building was situated in an open area, the fire was fed by excess oxygen that also hindered the firefighting operation and added that its stairs were also very narrow, which added to problems facing his personnel in putting the blaze out.

(The News-2, 20/02/2007)

100 more fire stations needed

KARACHI, Feb 20: The seventh largest city of the world, Karachi, has no proper disaster management infrastructure and it urgently needs at least 100 new fire stations, says the Pakistan Medical Association.

PMA Karachi General Secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad on Tuesday said the fire in the PNSC building once again exposed our lack of planning and coordination to cope with such disasters. He said though the PNSC building inferno was not the first incident of its kind, the administration at federal, provincial and city government levels were not ready to pay heed in this regard.

He said, “We do not have proper equipment or trained staff to deal with emergency like fires, major rains or earthquakes. Billions of rupees are being spent on erecting highrises and other such structures in the city, which have just one snorkel.”

According to a survey, more than 10,000 five-storied plus high-rise structures are there in Karachi, but there is no proper mechanism to save lives and properties of their residents in case of a fire or other disaster.

The general secretary said, “How a lone snorkel could cater needs of this sprawling city was best known to our visionary city bosses.”

In 1947 when the population of Karachi was just 300,000 it had two big and one small fire stations. He regretted that the city at present with a population of 14 million plus had only 20 fire stations. He said it was learnt that four fire brigades close their doors after 4pm. Besides opening 100 new fire stations, he said proper training of fire fighters and equipping them with modern gadget was also a must.

He said majority of our highrises had no in-built provision for fire-fighting and other disasters.

He demanded that the KBCA and other relevant agencies carry out a survey of each and every five-storied plus building in the city regarding facilities to cope with disasters. He said safety of life and property of citizens was a constitutional responsibility of the government and no compromise be made in this regard.

He urged the city government to invest more in fire fighting services and provide the city fire tenders, snorkels and fire stations to meet the demands of this metropolis.

(Dawn-19, 21/02/2007)


CDGK price list forces consumers to pay more

KARACHI, March 12: The price list of 51 essential items issued by the city government is not acceptable to retailers and shopkeepers as it said to quote rates that are higher than those prevailing in the market.

The city government issued a price list of 51 essential items on Monday, but some shopkeepers and wholesalers said the list carried higher wholesale rates of various items. The list is meant to fix prices on fortnightly or monthly basis

The government issued the price list with the help of the Water Pump Market Welfare Association. According to the list, the consumers will pay more as the rates of 17 items including pulses have been fixed on the higher side from prevailing wholesale market rates while the prices of nine items including rice has been fixed on the lower side.

For example, the wholesale price of Quality No.1 and No.2 gram pulse (dal channa) has been fixed at Rs33 and Rs31 per kg while it is wholesale price is Rs30 and Rs28 per kg. Similarly, Dal mash No.1 and No.2 prices have been fixed at Rs49.50 and Rs48 per kg while it is available at Rs47 and Rs45 per kg at wholesale.

Dal mash chilka and mash sabut are selling at Rs45 but the government has fixed their rates at Rs47 and Rs46 per kg respectively. Dal moong washed no.1 and no.2 qualities are available at Rs46 and Rs42 per kg while the government’s price is Rs 50 and Rs 49 per kg respectively.

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