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Updated: March 27, 2010 11:58 IST

Six more bodies recovered at Stephen Court

Ananya Dutta
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GRIEF BEYOND WORDS: Six-year-old Rangan Chakrabory hugs his aunt Kabita Ghosh, as he arrives at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata for a DNA test to identify the body of his mother Tapati Chakraborty, who died in the Stephen Court building fire. Photo: PTI
PTI GRIEF BEYOND WORDS: Six-year-old Rangan Chakrabory hugs his aunt Kabita Ghosh, as he arrives at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata for a DNA test to identify the body of his mother Tapati Chakraborty, who died in the Stephen Court building fire. Photo: PTI

Six more bodies were recovered at Stephen Court here on Friday, three days after a devastating fire broke out in the multi-storeyed building, pushing the death toll to 30.

But with six persons still untraced, it is feared that several bodies are buried beneath the rubble.

For the relatives of those reported missing, the nightmare continued, as the condition of the charred bodies raised difficulties in identification. While none claimed the bodies recovered on Thursday, a DNA examination was being conducted on samples collected from four victims to resolve disputes on their identity.

The families of the victims came to the morgue of the SSKM Hospital all through the day. For most of them, the experience was relived every time they were called for the identification. “Why was he calling me? Why didn't he do something to escape instead,” lamented the sisters of Bidyut Archarya, who is missing.

The building remained sealed for the third day, but some of the residents were allowed inside the portions of the structure considered safe for a short while to collect essentials from their homes.

Even as measures for improving fire safety standards at high-rise buildings were announced, another fire broke out at a four-storeyed house on Rabindra Sarani on Friday evening. Five fire tenders brought the blaze under control.

A committee of senior officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the Police, the fire brigade and the Power Department had been set up. It will inspect buildings that have been identified as vulnerable, Commissioner of Police Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti said.

A 200 personnel-strong civil defence emergency response force was being raised to conduct rescue operations, Minister of State for Civil Defence Srikumar Mukherjee said. It would become operational within two months.


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