Monday September 26, 2022

Sindh CM forms JIT on Mehar blaze

April 21, 2022

KARACHI: Though the Sindh Chief Minster formed the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the Mehar fire incident in which eight children and one woman killed due to fire, but the incident has thoroughly exposed the incompetence of the Sindh government to manage emergencies.

There is no emergency service institution in Sindh, like 1122 of Punjab established way back in 2006 to manage incidents of fire, rescue and emergency medical services. Furthermore, Punjab has Emergency Councils and District Emergency Boards in stark contrast to Sindh where despite 14 years of continuous PPP governments, there is no concept of such organised emergency services.

The most tragic part of the incident was that the first fire brigade vehicle reached the spot after 11 hours. The fire station was located in Dadu, 70 km from the place of incident and to add insult to injury charged for the fuel from the victims.

Not just the Fire Deptt, but the DC, SSP Dadu and other officers of the district management reached the site of incident on the next day around 5 pm after a lapse of 20 hours, while the elected representatives MNA Rafiq Jamali and MPA Fayyaz Butt visited the victims after 23 hours. There are only eight tenders in district Dadu, of them only one is in working. There are two fire-brigade vehicles in the adjacent town of Mehar both of which are out of order. Also the two in Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi are not in working order and only one can perform in district headquarters, Dadu. This state of affairs questions the Rs10mn budget allocated to each of these fire station.

No ambulances from district headquarter Dadu, Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah reached to shift the injured and the dead. They were shifted to a local hospital in police mobiles. Eight of the dead were children, while the ninth victim was a woman.Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Shah along with Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah on Wednesday visited the site of incident and announced relief package and investigation, constituted a JIT headed by Chief Secretary Sindh with Home Secretary as a member.