HYDERABAD: Monday night’s fire accident at a paper godown in Bowenpally, under the jurisdiction of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), has brought two issues to the fore - such godowns have been operating illegally in residential areas of the region, and there is no fire station in the SCB’s jurisdiction, spanning over 42 km, to cater to these facilities. The only fire station that services the cantonment area is the one near Paradise X-roads.
Over the last year, 20 such fire accidents occurred in illegal godowns within SCB limits. The SCB authorities, however, have no plans to crack down on the operations of such godowns.
According to an SCB official, these godowns are located on British-era lease B3-land, which belongs to defence estates authorities. Interestingly, it is the SCB that extends the lease agreement for British-era bungalows by charging a nominal fee. These British-era godowns are located in Rasoolpura, Bowenpally, Tadbund, Trimulgherry, and Bollarum, and they primarily store paper, paint, refined oil and electronic goods. They are used by their owners as transit points to supply materials to the city.
As per the Cantonment Act, fire accidents related to illegal commercial installations will not get insurance coverage under the Calamity Relief Funds (CRF) norms issued by the National Disaster Management Authority. Regional Fire Officer of the Disaster Response and Fire Services Department V Papaiah said: “We requested the SCB authorities to provide temporary land to establish a fire station within SCB limits.” However, the SCB did not respond to such requests, he added. Similarly, the district fire officer appealed to the Hyderabad district collector for State government land to build a fire station.
Sanitary inspector A Mahender, SCB Sanitation Department, said: “We conducted a drive and demolished the illegal godowns on cantonment land. The other godowns being run illegally are on land that comes under the defence estate department. We do not have the right to act against such illegal godowns.”
Major fire at plastic warehouse
A major fire broke out at a plastic warehouse near Aramgarh. Though there were no casualties reported, the magnitude of the fire caused panic among the locals. More than three fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. The fire broke out at an unregistered plastic warehouse where plastic is turned to granules and resold to MNCs as per the officials of State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department. The fire broke out in the combustion chamber and later spread to other areas on Thursday. Due to the burning of the plastic thick fumes of smoke emanated. It took more than four hours to douse flames, said SFO Jagan Mohan