Forty seven-year-old Attar Singh Rana gives now an impression of a patient of vitiligo to all as whitish patches are highly visible on his both arms, face and the chest. However, he is not suffering from any vitiligo disease as such. The real reason for this condition that has happened to him is that he did not care about his life while performing his duty. Rana is a leading fireman posted at Fire Station of Roorkee.
This is not an example of Rana alone in entire Uttarakhand Fire Services (UFS) but of other two firemen who received critical burn injuries during the firefighting. These two are Deepak Butola and Jayveer Farswan who are currently posted in Tehri and Haridwar respectively.
It is pertinent to mention here that since the formation of Uttarakhand state till date, out of all field staff, who were injured while battling with fire, only these three fire fighters were “critically” injured.
Rana, a leading fireman posted at Roorkee, was burnt critically in 2021 when a godown-cum-house of a scrap dealer had caught a massive fire. Rana had rescued the scrap dealer’s family who used to live in first floor of the godown.
Similarly, Farswan,35, a leading fireman posted at Haridwar, had got his head and other parts of body injured in a fire reportedly broke out in a factory in 2008. Whereas 34- year-old Butola was burnt in two times in 2008 and 2016 during his posting in Dehradun.
The Fire department, which has around 1550 firefighters across the state in a total 33 fire stations plus 13 fire units, has registered 34,064 fire calls between 2000 to 2020. During this period, it saved 15179 and 4107 human and animal lives respectively. Though, job of firefighters are full of risk to life but receiving of appreciation and financial cover from own department are still missing.
At Financial front, the fact is no risk allowance given to the firefighters as it is given in the cases of officials of SDRF and local intelligence unit (LIU). Even as pension facility is not available to those firefighters who recruited since 2005.
Whereas, fire department distributes awards as recognition of their firefighters services every year on April 14, but some firefighters who express their gallant and valor like Rana, Farswan and Butola are always missed out from the due appreciation.
The fire department, however, said that they were well aware about the good jobs of all three but for any award name of any firefighter is recommended from district level under which he is posted at the time of incident. And in cases of all three, the recommendation of three names reportedly did not reach to the headquarters.
“All three firefighters had done a remarkable job after putting their their lives at risk during different fire incidents. Now we will check it that at what level error was done in not felicitating them properly,”maintained Sandeep Kumar Rana, deputy director, UFS.
Tapan Susheel is a journalist who writes for Times of India