Kolkata fire: Mamata says no one from railways was present, officials deny claim
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at Indian railways claiming no one visited the spot where a fire killed nine people at Eastern Railways office in Kolkata. The officials, however, countered the chief minister's allegations saying officials were present at the spot.
"The property belongs to railways, it's their responsibility but they were unable to provide map of building. I don't want to do politics over the tragedy but no one from railways has come here," Banerjee said late on Monday night after visiting the high rise building at Kolkata's Strand Road.
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However, Manoj Joshi, general manager in the Eastern Railway refuted the claim. "Officers of railways were present there, efforts were being made for whatever was required. Maybe any map wasn't made available immediately, staff members of railways were present to guide about the building," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Those killed include four fire fighters, one Railway Protection Force personnel, an assistant sub-inspector of the Kolkata Police and one unidentified person. Two more bodies were found inside an elevator, fire brigade officials said late on Monday. The bodies could not be identified. It was suspected that one of them could be the Eastern Railway's deputy chief commercial manager Partha Sarathi Mondal who had been missing since evening.
The fire services personnel who died are Girish Deb, Gaurab Bej, Aniruddh Jana and Biman Purkait.
The fire broke out on the 13th floor of the sprawling New Koilaghat building on Strand Road at around 6.10 pm, and was brought under control a few hours later, according to West Bengal's fire and emergency services minister Sujit Basu.
Banerjee, who rushed to the spot in the city's central business district, announced that the state government will pay a compensation of ₹10 lakh to the families of those killed in the blaze and government job to the kin of each victim.
The chief minister also went to the SSKM Hospital where the bodies were sent for post-mortem examination.
At least 20 fire tenders and two hydraulic ladders were pressed into service to douse the blaze at the building which also has a computerised ticket booking centre in the ground floor.