Kolkata, Jan 15(UNI) The devastating fire in Burabazar, the country's biggest wholesale market, continued to rage for the fourth consecutive day today, even as fire fighters and army personnel battled to bring the blaze under control.
While Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee claimed that 90 per cent of the fire had been contained, flames leapt up afresh from time to time in new pockets in the top floors of the multi-storeyed Nandaram market.
Gas cylinders on the 13th floor exploded last night causing the inflammable items stockpiled on the eleventh floor to catch fire, thereby adding fuel to the fire.
Former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat visited the Burabazar area and talked to the affected traders while industrialist B K Birla announced a grant of Rs two crore for them.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee met Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi at the Raj Bhavan during the day claiming adequate compensation for the victims.
The fire started in a building early on Saturday morning before spreading to the adjoining buildings. At least 4,000 shops and eight multi-storeyed buildings have already been gutted in the inferno, the cause of which was yet to be known.
Official sources said the sophisticated ladder requisitioned from the Haldia Petrochemicals was used to spray water on the 13th floor of the 21-storeyed Nandaram market.
Fire tenders continued to ferry water from the nearby sources, they said.
Mr Pratim Chatterjee yesterday said huge quantity of inflammable materials was stored inside the 'unauthorised' building, which did not have fire-fighting arrangements.
Meanwhile, Ms Mamata Banerjee alleged that the state Government did not have any disaster management system and it had totally failed to control the situation in Burabazar.
Expressing grave concern, the CPI(M) adopted a resolution at its ongoing state conference urging the state Government to stand by the affected people after assessing the damage.
The party also demanded to take necessary action after probing the reason of the fire.
UNI KDG KK AKJ RAI1904