“Those willing to work as green police will be given opportunity”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday honoured 65 bravehearts from the Panchantala area in the south of the city, who rescued patients from the nearby AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, when a devastating fire ravaged it on December 9.
Referring to them as the “The Brave Youths of Panchantala,” Ms. Banerjee said those willing to work as a civic police volunteer or “Green Police” would be given the opportunity by her government.
She was speaking at the investiture ceremony of the city police.
“It was decided that Kolkata police will felicitate people from Panchantala, who had extended their helping hand in this incident [AMRI Hospitals fire].
“Today, in a small way we have honoured them. We have taken a decision that those willing to work as green police will be given the opportunity,” Ms. Banerjee said.
“We were not allowed into the hospital. Neither was anyone from our families admitted there. But that morning on hearing cries of the people we could not stop ourselves from reaching out. Now we are happy that at least we could save some lives,” Raju Bhandari, a youth from the locality said.
It was young men like Raju who showed exemplary courage during the tragedy. They jumped over the barbed-wired fence of the hospital and clambered up the pipes to rescue people hours before fire fighters arrived at the spot.
Amid choking smoke the youths, with no fire fighting equipment, carried the patients out wrapped in the bed covers.
They were given Rs.5,000 each by the State government and a certificate of appreciation by the Kolkata police.
The family members of two youths from the locality, Sankar Maity and Tarit Purkait, who were hospitalised after fighting the fire, also received honours from the Chief Minister.
According to police records, the first call to the emergency number of Kolkata Police was made at 4.05 a.m. from the residents of the locality, after which the fire stations were alerted and fire tenders reached the hospital.