Feud among fire brigade employees turns ugly

Feud among fire brigade employees turns ugly

Mannarkkad: A driver with the fire force department was allegedly forced to clean a vehicle all alone by his superior who was allegedly miffed with the junior employee for seeking his job description through the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Indicating there is something more fishy about the dispute, the driver has been admitted to hospital with hip injuries reportedly received after falling from the vehicle as he was worn out doing the chore single-handedly.

Manoj, a driver-cum-pump operator at the Mannarkkad fire station in Kerala’s Palakkad district, was at the receiving end of the harsh punishment meted out by the District Fire Officer. What led to the ugly turn of events was an altercation between the members of the labour unions, viz., the Fire Service Association and Fireman Drivers And Mechanic Association members last Sunday. Manoj is a member of the latter union.

The station officer even complained to the district officer that Manoj had tried to manhandle and threatened him. Subsequently, Manoj sent an RTI query on what is the job profile of those who were involved in vehicle maintenance and various other posts.

Worsening the situation, district officer Arun Bhaskar, who arrived to probe the complaint against Manoj on Saturday noon, allegedly made the latter wash the vehicle. Manoj alleged that the District Fire Officer had deliberately harassed him.

Manoj said that tasks such as vehicle cleaning were generally carried out jointly by the personnel at the station.

However, Bhaskar claimed that Manoj had refused to give his statement. He had then allegedly jumped on top of the vehicle and fell off from it, Bhaskar said. He was then taken to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Manoj's wife P Ramya has given a complaint to Mannarkkad police circle inspector, seeking to end the harassment meted out against her husband by officers and other members of the rival employee outfit.