Fishermen on Friday urged the government to install a modern fire fighting system at fish harbour to assuage their fears after a recent inferno devastated a factory in the city in which over 250 labourers were burnt to death. Patron-in-Chief of Sindh Trawler Owners and Fishermen Association (Stofa) Sarwar Siddiqui said: “There is an urgent need to install a modern fire fighting system at the harbour.”
He said that there was always a potential of such a mishap occurring at the harbour, as fishing boats were made of wood and they ran on diesel. “Wood and diesel are highly combustible materials,” he said. Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA) and Fishermen Corporative Society (FCS) run the harbour’s affairs, he said, adding that both departments should consider installing fire-fighting equipment to protect the port from a devastation.
Criticising the port authorities and accusing them of gross negligence, Siddiqui said they had largely ignored the key civic facility at the harbour. He said fishermen associations had also failed to press the government to set up such a safety system.
He pointed out that a huge fire had broken out at the harbour nearly six months ago, which was extinguished by fire departments of KPT and the Dockyard. “If these departments had not helped on time, the situation could have been worse,” he said. President of Native Islanders Fishermen Association (Nifa) Asif Bhatti expressed concern over missing critical facility at the harbour and said that the recent factory fire should serve as a wake-up call for the authorities concerned.
He said the country’s largest fish harbour, which also served the country’s export sector, lacked such an important facility. He said that KFHA and FCS should install this crucial facility. Harbour officials said: “Fishermen’s concerns over the lack of fire fighting system at the harbour are justified and valid.” They said the KFHA had earmarked significant funds for a fire fighting system in its budget, adding that the Sindh government had also sanctioned a sizeable budget for the fiscal year 2012-13. They said the KFHA will first set up the system in line with its master-plan to change the entire outlook of harbour. They said the KFHA was now waiting for funds from the Sindh government to initiate the plan. They said they expected to get funds soon.