The Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance is currently investigating the case of a fire truck that is worth Rs 15.7 million which was designed to be used at the airport of Agalega. However, it was used on Mauritian roads. Was there an authorisation to do so, or was it inappropriate?
The fire truck was bought by Outer Islands Development Corporation meant for the airport of Agalega was allegedly used by the fire brigade. A Chief Fire Officer, Louis Pallen, attested to this, saying that the truck was kept at his place at Coromandel and was used by the “Fire Services”. He did not, however, clarify whether it was authorised to use the truck on our roads.
The Mercedes Benz actros 2043 truck was to be used at the airport that was planned to be constructed by the ex-government at Agalega. When it first arrived in Mauritius, it already had written on both of its sides “Airport Crash Fire Fighting Vehicle Agalega”.
The use of the truck in Mauritius has been controversial. According to those who have opposed it, the truck was adapted to be driven on “airport compounds” only; that was because the vehicle was capable to reach its maximum speed in a minimum time period to cater for the demands of civil aviation. Moreover, it is extremely heavy, carrying a considerable amount of water, and other equipment.
Furthermore, it is argued that the truck is not at all meant to hit normal streets. It has only one wheel on both sides at the back; it has a “single wheel configuration”. This feature coupled with the power of the engine lead to a greater risk of “overturning”, specially along dangerous bends. The opponents affirm that the lives of the firemen working onboard the truck were put in danger, specially that the fire trucks are meant to be driven at high speed.
It was minister Prem Koonjoo who brought this issue to the attention of the Ministry of Good Governance.
“I’m advised by the Corporation (Outer Islands Development Corporation) that the vehicle is still awaiting shipment to Agalega. Apparently, the Corporation is having transportation problems as the vehicle cannot be dismantled for shipment. The vehicle is still lying at Coromandel Fire Station. I also learnt that the warranty on the vehicle will expire in July 2015”, stated Prem Koonjoo, in response to a question put forward by Aadil Ameer Meea during the National Assembly.