Mumbai: Mumbai's firemen came out on the streets on Wednesday to protest against poor equipment, difficult working conditions and performing tasks they aren't trained for. During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks the firemen performed heroic deeds, rescuing Mumbaikars and putting out fires in the face of bullets.
But now Mumbai's firemen are sitting in protest, against the shabby treatment they are still subject to.
Their main grouse include torn uniforms which haven't been replaced in three years. The administration says they have already issued new uniforms which will be distributed in the next few days.
They also don't want to be part of fogging exercises for malaria control and say the BMC's decision to employ them as lifeguards at beaches is flawed, because they've been trained only for inland flood rescue.
"If we go in the sea, someone will have to rescue us," says Mumbai Fire Services Union President Sharad Rao.
But the authorities are adamant.
"We don't think it's unfair that they are called for all these services. These are emergencies, and we need to step in for these things," says Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare.
Adding insult to injury, just days ago, the BMC had denied firemen group insurance saying that paying compensation is cheaper than the insurance premium.
The Mumbai civic body may be one of the richest in India but it is inexplicably penny pinching, when it comes to the welfare of the heroes in blue.