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Feb 27, 2013 at 04:00pm IST

Kolkata: Massive fire in a market leaves 20 dead; Mamata Banerjee assures action

Kolkata: A massive fire in a Kolkata market left 20 people dead and many more injured on Wednesday morning. The fire broke out in the tightly packed Surya Sen market near Sealdah. Around 20 fire engines battled the blaze but the cause of the fire is still unknown. The injured have been admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later in the day directed the police, fire brigade and the municipal corporation to submit a report on the fire within three days and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the family of those killed. "A compensation of Rs 2 lakh will be paid to the family of those who have died in the fire and Rs 50,000 to those injured," Banerjee said after visiting the market housing a godown-cum-office complex in the Sealdah area in central Kolkata.

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The Chief Minister urged people, who sleep in markets in the night to be more careful and take precautionary measures like not to light a fire near inflammable materials. "They should be more careful. Mischief makers also can cause damage," she said.

"After the AMRI fire incident, the government requested all buildings to follow safety norms. No one follows the norms. Everything will be investigated to find out the cause of the fire," she said before leaving for the Medical College morgue where the dead bodies had been taken.

However, both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Left soon started a blame game ove the unfortunate incident. TMC leader and state Fire Services Minister Javed Khan blamed the Left for the incident and said that the building in which the fire broke out came up before TMC came to power.

Deputy Mayor Farzana Alam while blaming the previous Left government said, "It is the previous government's fault. We will check the licence of this building. I am unable to get into the building now but I will take action at the earliest." However, Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suryakant Mishra said, "No time for blame game. Enquiry has to be done. If not satisfied a higher level enquiry is needed."

Meahwile, Union Minister Deepadas Munshi demanded a probe in the incident. "There should be a judicial inquiry into the fire incident," said Munshi.

With Additional Inputs from PTI