LAHORE - Despite the fact the City is under fierce terror attacks, the sole bomb disposal squad in civil defence department is short of 108 personnel besides basic technical and modern paraphernalia to perform its highly sensitive task. Believe it or not, the BDS consists of six people who are responsible for the lives of more than 9.5 million Lahorites. The too are needed to improve their expertise in handling explosive devices and material. Interestingly, they use the same tools as are used by hairdressers and defuse bombs with screwdrivers, scissors and string. The department has 11 vehicles but they are not equipped with fully loaded system. The BDS carries only two mine detectors, 20 metal detectors and a water cannon gun. The situation has set off alarming bells among different circles fearing that understaffed bomb disposal squad will fail to respond if terrorist attacks take place at more than one place in the City. A senior officer of the civil defence department seeking anonymity told The Nation that more than 100 bomb disposal personnel needed to be included in the present strength of bomb disposal squad. He said though strength of such personnel was not sufficient, however, some thing was better than nothing to make a difference. Sources in the civil defence department revealed CDGL had submitted various proposals to the authority concerned to conform the strength and equipments of BDS to present demands in view of the surge in terrorism. However, high-ups remained indifferent to the appalling situation. As per proposals, CDGL had requested the government to develop BDS unit at town level. The BDS unit in town should consist of at least 12 persons including bomb disposal technicians and bomb disposal commanders. The unit loaded with modern wireless network should work in two shifts. While the civil defence rules, which are discontinued so far, should come in workable position, the proposal said. However, this effort proved an exercise in futility. The sources claimed that 90 per cent of the bomb squad personnel in Pakistan are on daily wages while only 5-10 per cent people are regular employees. However, bomb squad in other countries are equipped with bombproof suits, explosive detectors, mine detectors, wireless broadcasting systems, equipped vehicles, listening devices and X-ray equipment for screening packages. When contacted, DDO (civil defence) Mazhar Ahmed told the Nation on Thursday there was a dire need of improvement in the present BDS of the City. He said the government had approved to appoint five more personnel to improve the strength of the squad. We are going to publicise the advertisement in this regard in two days, he said. Mazhar said under new specifications to recruit the people, age limit had been extended from 35 to 45. He said only those would be appointed who would be holding a course from the Military College of Engineering, Risal Pur and Air Force office, Karachi. He said the government had also allowed the civil defence department to purchase modern equipment like bomb disposal suits, explosive detectors, mine detectors, technical detectors, ex-ray machines, remote controlled vehicles and wireless sets. He said as per tentative estimation the equipment to be purchased from US, UK and Italy would cost around Rs30m.