Only one Fire & Emergency Station for whole Kargil District: Interview

VoL Desk, Oct. 22: For the whole Kargil District which is stretched from Matayin to Zanskar, which is around 300 kilometers and from up to Shakar Chiktan Sub-Division, there is only one Fire and Emergency Station at the District Headquarter in Kargil.

In case of emergency situations in far-flung areas, the officials of the fire and emergency services make unsuccessful or partially successful attempts to reach the situation, during which the fire makes a huge loss of property, said Station Officer Akbar Ali. For the whole district, there is only 17 staff including the drivers and orderlies.

The Station Officer emphasized the need to establish sub-stations of the office at the Sub-Division or block level and also to recruit employees and fill vacancies to handle emergency situations smoothly.

Speaking about winters, during which fire emergencies occur comparatively more, Akbar Ali said that the office has adequate facilities to keep water unfrozen in the harsh climate of Ladakh. However, it is a matter of difficult to keep water unfrozen once the water is discharged and refilled immediately to handle the same situation. “We have four vehicles including three fire lorry and a small tata mobile”, Akbar added.

Speaking about congested roads and bottlenecks, especially in Kargil town, he said that they have the provision to extend the pipes up to 100 feet in streets and congested areas. While it is difficult to run on congested roads like Goma Kargil, Poyen, and other high-altitude areas.

Running in high-altitude areas is difficult in winter when the roads remain slippery, said the official.

The mentality of the public is also an issue who try to conceal the emergency incidents and try to put off the fire themselves and don’t inform the emergency officials at first moment. When the fire goes out of control, the public informs the emergency services but we also could do the least at that moment, maintained Akbar.

In addition, when we move to an emergency situation people don’t provide us space on the road to move quickly. Some people even overtake our vehicles which makes us late to reach the situation. Wrong parking on road sites is also a concern which makes our vehicle late for the situations.

The Station Officer also advised the public to keep a fire extinguisher in offices, shops, hotels and at home to handle emergency situations which is easy and quick access to mitigate loss in fire situations. On asking about how people could contact them, Akbar Ali said that earlier their contact number was 101 which is now changed to 112. They have the potential to move within two minutes time from the office towards an emergency situation. However, the road that connects the Fire and Emergency Services Office to the main road is in bad condition which also is a hurdle in emergency situations, said the officials.


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