Shops destroyed in Ampara blaze – state apathy playing with fire?

Shops destroyed in Ampara blaze – state apathy playing with fire?

Shops destroyed in Ampara blaze – state apathy playing with fire?

Written by Staff Writer

29 Aug, 2015 | 9:01 pm

This video shows the destruction caused to 23 shops that were located along a 20-metre stretch of road on the Main Street in Ampara, by an inferno at around three on Saturday morning.

This incident sends a very strong message as well. The fire that spread from shop to shop engulfed goods worth over Rupees 10M and turned them to ash.

The Ampara Urban Council is located approximately 150 metres away from this site.

If such a fire had broken out within the premises of the Urban Council, this building too would have met the same fate as the  23 shops that were razed to the ground.

These three state-of-the-art vehicles that have been parked at the Urban Council premises to immediately respond to a fire that may have broken out, would also be turned to ash if a fire breaks out at the Urban Council premises.

The reason for this is that the Ampara Urban Council does not have the trained personnel who could power up these vehicles and respond to any emergency call.

It has been over eleven months since the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government handed over these three emergency vehicles to the Ampara Urban Council. These emergency vehicles and equipment worth millions of rupees were presented to the Ampara Urban Council under an International Aid Project initiated in 2006.

Under this Aid Project, firemen were supposed to be given International training to respond to emergencies. However, the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government had not made use of that opportunity.

Construction for a fire brigade building for the Ampara Urban Council had also been left to ruin.

Despite been provided with emergency vehicles to respond to fires, it was the personnel from the Uhana Air Force Base located 10 kilometes away, that responded to emergency calls made from the Ampara Urban Council Limits over the past eleven months.

Emergency vehicles similar to those found at the premises of the Ampara Urban Council , have also been parked at the Chilaw Urban Council Limits for over a period of five years.

The sole reason for these vehicles to also be in a neutral state at the premises is that permission had not been granted from the Treasury to recruit personnel for these vehicles.

However, the treasury makes the re-payments with interests on time for the programme where International Aid was provided for the establishment of Fire Brigades at Local Government Institutions since the year 2006.

This lethargic process is far more dangerous that a fire. Shouldn’t this be rectified?

Secretary to the President , this is over to you. 

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