Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 9 (ANI): Railways will co-operate with the state government in whatever investigation conducted by the fire department and other agencies, General Manager of Eastern Railway, Manoj Joshi said on Tuesday.
A fire broke out at the multi-storey building of the Eastern Railway headquarters in Kolkata on Strand Road Monday evening in which nine people, including a city policeman were killed.
The bodies of seven people, including four firefighters, were found on Monday night while two more bodies were found in the early hours today.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal expressed his condolences at the tragedy and said a high-level inquiry team comprising of four Principal heads of Railway departments has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who reached the spot and took stock of the rescue operations alleged that no official from the Railways was present on the scene.
"The property belongs to the Railways but unfortunately I found no senior officer from the railway here, and we were not even provided a map of the old multi-storey office building" she said.
Banerjee also said: "I don't want to do politics over the tragedy but no one from railways has come here."
Manoj Joshi, General Manager, Eastern Railway said: "Officers of Railways were present there, efforts were being made for whatever was required. Maybe a map wasn't made available immediately but staff members of railways were present to guide about the building."
"We will cooperate with the State in any probe they will conduct," Joshi added.
Giving details of the blaze, the Railway official said "the unfortunate fire incident took place on the 13th floor in the New Koilaghat Eastern Railway office. The incident came to light around 6 pm. Our staff including Railway Protection Force (RPF), rescued almost the entire staff of the 13th floor. During this, two officials suffered burn injuries they were sent to Railway Hospital. Fire Brigade was informed and they reached by around 6:30 pm and started fire fighting and rescue operations."
"Some firefighters including our Railways' staff and RPF probably went to the 13th floor and very, unfortunately, we lost some of these brave hearts. As confirmed by the rescue team there are two railway officials and four firefighters and one official from Kolkata Police and probably two people are unidentified lost their lives," Joshi said.
This fire was brought under control by 11 pm- 11:30 pm, the official said adding that there was a lot of damage on the 13th floor.
Joshi said that due to the fire, one important installation of the Passenger Reservation System has been affected and service was suspended.
"Efforts are being made through CRIS to recover it via disaster recovery system that has backup data. We're hoping it'll be done by morning," the official said.
Railways will co-operate with the state government in whatever investigation conducted by the fire department and other agencies, he said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and a government job to one family member. (ANI)