THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The suspension of seven officials of the Fire and Rescue Services, in the backdrop of the misuse of a fire engine at IHRD Engineering College in Adoor, came as a shock to many.
There was no flouting of rules as cited in the inquiry report submitted by the Kottayam Divisional Officer. When asked about the incident, Kottayam Divisional Officer N V John said, “They were suspended by F&RS DGP Jacob Thomas.” The DGP was not available for comment.According to sources, the suspended fire officials acted according to the GO issued by the Home Department and their suspension was a mere cover-up for the failure of the government to come up with a proper solution.
The rules clearly state the usage of vehicles. First, for government purposes, they should be given free of charge. For festivals and other entertainment that is not for profit, a fee of `5,000 has to be levied. And for private use a fee of `15,000 could be imposed. If they need pumping of water, the party should pay an additional amount of `2,000.“The fire officials under suspension did not deviate from this rule at any point of time. The convener of the programme committee of the college approached the fire station officials on August 14. The college administration said they wanted the vehicle for fire-safety purpose and paid the fee for it. Later the college authorities repealed the permission to conduct Onam celebrations inside the college, about which the fire officials were not intimated. They had paid money so we had to give the vehicle. The students were allowed to pump water as they paid `2,000,” sources said.The rule about having an extra vehicle ready at the fire station before allotting another vehicle for private use was followed.