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Koilaghat building fire: Political storm over Kolkata fire incident ahead of West Bengal elections

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Kolkata, Mar 09: A day after a devastating blaze claimed nine lives at the New Koilaghat building of Eastern Railway, a political storm has broken out ahead of West Bengal assembly polls, with the BJP blaming the TMC government for poor disaster management and the ruling dispensation rubbishing the allegation.

mamata banerjee

BJP West Bengal co-incharge Amit Malviya in a tweet said, the state should equip local bodies with fire fighting equipment and put in place appropriate protocols. Quipping "Pishi has failed Bengal," Malviya tweeted, "WB needs a proactive disaster management policy, equip local bodies with fire fighting equipment and put in appropriate protocols."

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"Pishi" is the Bengali word used for paternal aunt and the BJP refers to Mamata Banerjee as "Pishi" as she is the aunt of TMC MP and party heavyweight Abhishek Banerjee.

Countering the allegation, state Fire and Emergency Services Minister Sujit Bose said, "From installing hydraulic ladder to largely containing the blaze, our men did everything possible. It is the Railways which could not provide us with a map of the interiors of the 12th floor."

Bose regretted that the saffron party is politicising the tragedy for "cheap electoral gains". Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had visited the site on Monday night and alleged that senior railway officials were not present.

"The building belongs to the Railways. But I have come to know that no one from the Railways reached the spot till now. Our fire department asked for the building map from them in order to enter the premises but there was no cooperation from them," she had said.

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    The chief minister, however, said that she did not want to indulge in politics with a mishap. Nine persons, including four firefighters, three railway personnel and an assistant sub-inspector of Kolkata Police, died in the blaze, police said.

    Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has set up a high-level committee to ascertain the cause of the fire at the sprawling building situated on Strand Road in the central business district of the city.

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