The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will recommend setting up of emergency fire stations on the Mumbai-Pune highway (NH-4), Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-66). The move comes due to the increase in number of accidents involving chemical and gas tankers recently. “Based on the request by the state highway traffic police regarding the fire station, we will recommend setting up one to the board of directors,” said Sanjay Gangurde, executive engineer, MSRDC.
The state highway traffic police (SHTP) had, in September 2015, requested for a fire brigade and ambulance service on the above mentioned stretches. “Whenever an accident of a gas tanker or toxic chemical tanker has been reported, a lot of time was wasted on coordination with government agencies like fire brigades and concerned companies. Hence we have asked for a fire station on the highways,” said S B Arude, a SHTP cop privy to the issues.
Even PI Manoj Mhatre of Raigad traffic police said that time is wasted due to traffic jams and also because of their reliance upon the companies to which the LPG or chemical tankers belong, to handle the situation. However, M V Deshmukh, state fire advisor and former chief fire officer said that a separate fire brigade unit on the highways would only increase the financial burden.
The responsibility lies with the consignor and consignee. Different equipment and fire chemicals are required to deal with different classes of fire, Arun Deshmukh, an expert from the highway safety committee, said. “Traffic police are in charge of evacuation and traffic management. Local fire brigade should also pitch in,” he added.