Kolkata: The West Bengal government will invest Rs 50 crore this year to modernize infrastructure and equipment for fighting fires and other disasters, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Javed Ahmed Khan said on Wednesday.

The Rs 50 crore would be utilised in setting up fire stations in the city, installing well equipped rescue vans in districts and to train personnel, Khan told a MCC Chamber of Commerce event in Kolkata.

The process for acquiring land for six new fire stations in Barabazar, Science City, Kidderpore, Rajabazar, Jadavpur and Sonarpur has begun, the minister said.

"We plan to have 60 to 70 well equipped rescue vans in each district and appoint district magistrates as director of the initiatives," he said.

"We have formed a unified command for fire, disaster management, and civil defence and the department will recruit 2,000 personnel to bridge the manpower shortage," he said.

Stating that the fire at the AMRI Hospital was a lesson for the state government and it was trying to plug all loopholes, he said, "We are also reworking rules and regulations for licence and compliance.

"We have formed a nine-member team to review the existing rules and stakeholder feedback will be sought."

He said a website was also being designed to facilitate online licence.

"We have issued advisories to industry and chambers as also to hospitals and have asked them to comply with it. If they repeatedly fail do so, we could cancel their applications," Khan said.

For better preparedness, companies have been asked to nominate security personnel to receive training for disaster management and fire fighting in the state-run training institute.

He said it was not the responsibility of the government alone, but also of the industry and common people to ensure that rules were complied with and disasters prevented.


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