People living in Lumbini zone, which boasts of 19 municipalities and a sub-metropolitan city, are at high risk of fire as the zone has only nine fire engines, that too in dilapidated state. Among the six districts in the zone, Gulmi and Arghakhachi have no fire engines, while majority of those in four other districts are not in operating condition.
Resunga municipality in Gulmi has been preparing to procure a fire-fighting truck this fiscal year. Resunga Municipality’s Chief Executive Baburam Palli said, “The tender has already been issued to procure the fire engine . It should arrive by June/July this year after necessary paperworks.”
Sandhikharka municipality in Arghakhachi has also issued a notice for purchasing a fire engine . But other municipalities in the district have not opened any tender to purchase fire engines. Therefore, it appears that only three municipalities in the district will have fire engines this fiscal year.
According to Palli, managing resources for the purchase of fire engines seems to be a problem as most municipalities have been facing funds crunch, and thus fire engines do not top their priority list.
It has been confirmed that Rampur municipality will not have a fire engine this year. Although the process to purchase other necessary vehicles have been forwarded, there are no immediate plans to purchase a fire engine , according to a municipality. official. Meanwhile, locals find it disheartening that there are no fire engines in the municipality, although going through rapid urbanisation of late.
Moreover, most of the fire engines owned by the municipalities in Lumbini do not function properly. Out of three fire engines owned by Siddharthanagar municipality in Rupandehi, one does not work due to the absence of a fuel tank. Similarly, only one out of three fire engines in Butwal sub-metropolis is in working condition. The remaining two are more than 25-years-old and do not function properly. Meanwhile in Kapilvastu, only one fire engine serves five municipalities in the district.