NHRC issues notice to Chief Secretary, Kolkata Municipal Commissioner

A preliminary inquiry report submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday’s fire at Surya Sen Market here has blamed “human negligence” and storage of inflammable articles along the single entry and exit point for the tragedy that led to the death of 20 persons.

The report, compiled by a committee comprising officials of the city police, the civic body and the Fire and Emergency Services Department, had stated that the fire broke out at the illegal mezzanine construction on the ground floor.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the incident and issued notices to State Chief Secretary Sanjoy Mitra and Kolkata Municipal Corporation Commissioner Khalil Ahmed expressing “concern over recurring incidents of fire and loss of several lives in Kolkata”.

The devastating fire on Wednesday engulfed large portions of the five-storey market that had turned into a virtual black hole for scores of people using the market as a night shelter.

Ms. Banerjee had herself admitted that little had been done after the fire at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, in December 2011 where more than 90 people died.

She had also issued directions that no one be allowed to use market places as night shelters.

A monitoring committee comprising officials of the police, the civic body and the Fire and Emergency Services Department will inspect all major markets in the city to ascertain whether fire safety norms are in place.

Local MLA Sikha Mitra, who visited the market, said traders and shopkeepers were eagerly awaiting permission to collect the remaining items from their shops but the police had denied them permission to do so.

  • Report says fire broke out at illegal mezzanine construction on ground floor

  • Monitoring committee to visit all major markets in Kolkata now