Kolkata: At least nine people were killed in a massive fire in a multi-storeyed building in Kolkata, which houses zonal offices of Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway on Monday. The deceased included four firefighters, two railways personnel and a police ASI were dousing the inferno, said Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Also Read - Major Fire Breaks Out at VICCO Laboratories Unit in Nagpur, No Casualty Reported
“All possible assistance has been provided by railways to the state government during this unfortunate fire accident. A high-level inquiry consisting of four principal heads of railway departments has been ordered to ascertain cause of fire,” Piyush Goyal said. Also Read - Odisha Forest Fire Rages On After a Week, One-Third Of Similipal National Park Gutted
The West Bengal government announced and ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who visited the spot said, “We lost seven people. Four of them were firefighters who lost their lives inside a lift which they used to reach upstairs quickly. The lift got electrocuted. This is very unfortunate.”
On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra condoled the loss of lives in Kolkata fire incident and approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PM’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 for those who were seriously injured in the fire.
“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,” PM Modi tweeted.
The fire, which broke out in the 13th floor of the sprawling New Koilaghat building on Strand Road at around 6.10 pm, is now under control and the cooling process is on, a fire official said.
The New Koila Ghat Building houses railway ticketing offices and is shared by the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway departments. The fire incident has reportedly also affected the online bookings as the main power was switched off.
The chief minister earlier alleged that not a single official of the Railways could be seen during the fire incident.
“The building belongs to the Railways. But I have come to know that no one from the Railways arrived reached the spot till now. Our fire department asked for the building map from them in order to get inside the premises but there was no cooperation from them, she said.
Mamata Banerjee, however, said she does not want to indulge in politics with a mishap.
The CM also went to the SSKM Hospital where the bodies, which are in “very bad shape”, 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.
(With agency inputs)