Kolkata: A deadly fire engulfed the bustling Surya Sen market in Kolkata on Wednesday, leaving scores dead and many injured. The six-storey tall commercial building was a disaster in the making with plenty of inflammable materials stacked everywhere, narrow lanes choking the possibility of escape and an eatery on the first floor.
The Mamata Banerjee government has immediately hit out at the Left, saying it was their policies that led to the fire. However, despite several major fires, Kolkata still remains vulnerable.
Shopkeepers and families of the dead are traumatised after Wednesday's fire. Five out of the 13 bodies are from Jharkhand. Many who died were sleeping inside the market when the tragedy occurred.
Of the 22 people who were pulled out of the rubble and brought to hospitals, 19 were declared dead on arrival. The government has claimed that the building destroyed on Wednesday was 22-year old, and was illegal and unauthorised. However, the Mamata government had also seen the country's worst hospital fire tragedy at AMRI Hospital in December 2011.
A probe committee has been formed and it is expected to file a report in three days on the fire at Surya Sen. Meanwhile, other market owners have been given 90-day notice to follow fire safety measures.
"After the AMRI fire incident, the government had requested all buildings to follow safety norms. But no one follows the norms," Mamata said. The tragedy has reignited the political blame game with the Trinamool Congress government blaming the Left for years of misrule leading to this.