Fire on the 13th floor of a multi-storeyed building in Kolkata, Monday, March 8, 2021
Fire on the 13th floor of a multi-storeyed building in Kolkata, Monday, March 8, 2021

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday claimed that railways officials failed to provide a map of the building, as a fire raged in the Eastern Railway office on Strand Road.

At least five firefighters along with security personnel of the Deputy Safety Commissioner and one RPF personnel died due to the fire on the 13th floor of the building, officials said.

"The property belongs to railways, it's their responsibility but they were unable to provide a map of the building. I don't want to do politics over the tragedy but no one from railways has come here," Banerjee said.

Responding to the charge, Eastern Railway General Manager Manoj Joshi said there is a possibility that no map was available.

"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," Joshi said.

Banerjee reached the spot late evening and announced Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia and state government services to the families of those who died.

Railways has stated that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined as the office had adequate measures to beat the fire. KMC Mayor Firhad Hakim and Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra were also seen at the spot.

West Bengal Minister of Fire and Emergency Services, Sujit Bose said four firefighters, two RPF personnel, and the ASI of Hare Street police station along with a railway officer have died.

Banerjee later went to SSKM hospital and had instructed the hospital officials to conduct the autopsy at night itself.

Families of the deceased and missing people were also seen reaching the state government-run SSKM hospital after getting the news.

Meanwhile, the forensic team and a special investigation team formed by the West Bengal fire and emergency service department will visit the spot on Tuesday morning to ascertain the actual cause of the fire.

The central government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

"PM Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the tragic fire in Kolkata. Rs 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured," the Prime Minister's Office said.

"Saddened by the loss of lives due to the fire tragedy in Kolkata. In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest," Modi said.

"Sincere condolences to the families of the 9 brave deceased including the 4 firefighters, 2 railways personnel & a police ASI who were fighting the fire at the Eastern Railways Strand road office in Kolkata," Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said.

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