Avejdars employed on contract system as fire-tender drivers
Nagpur: The Firefighting department of NMC is facing staff crunch these days. Avejdars are being employed on contract system as drivers of fire-tenders. One driver looks after two fire-tenders. The number of fire stations has increased from 5 to 8 while the strength of drivers has come down to 28 from its sanctioned posts as 57 (for 5 stations).
The NMC has 23 fire-tenders, and drivers are needed round the clock at all 8 stations, in three shifts. There are 28 drivers as per approved posts and 18 drivers are there from avejdari contract system, in all 46 drivers, of whom 6 drivers on an average remain on leave.
Thus, there remain only 40 drivers in action. The drivers are required to work in three shifts, usually 13 drivers in each shift. The NMC has got 23 big fire-tenders, some of whom are not used.
Firefighting committee’s earlier chairman Kishor Dorley had tabled before standing committee a proposal for increasing the number of fire stations and also making new recruitment. The proposal, though sanctioned by the committee, could not be materialized due to weak financial condition of NMC.
Firefighting officer Rajendra Uchake admits that more than half of the posts of drivers sanctioned are lying vacant. However, the drivers on avejdar contract system are recruited to get the work done. According to him, each water bowser contains 12,000 to 16,000 litres of water, which is useful in the event of big fire.
He said that the NMC’s firefighting department is considering purchase of more fire-tenders, but the proposal to this effect is held up due to shortage of drivers in NMC and also due to its poor monetary condition.