Updated: March 10, 2021 8:42:57 am
“He was very hardworking. Throughout the day, he would remain active,” Debjit Chatterjee, the officer in charge of Hare Street Police Station, said as he recalled colleague Amit Bhawal who was one of the nine people killed in the fire at Eastern Railway headquarters on Strand Road in Kolkata on Monday night.
As police personnel gathered at Lalbazar on Tuesday afternoon to pay their last respect to the departed Assistant Sub-Inspector, everyone stood shocked. “He was posted at Hare Street Police Station for the past three years. People in the area knew him,” Bhawal’s another colleague, who had trained with him, said.
On Monday evening, after receiving the news of the fire in the multi-storied building, Bhawal was one of the first people to reach the spot. “The situation was critical. Some people were stuck in the 13th-floor office. Realising that time could not be wasted, Amit Bhawal tried to climb to the 13th floor to rescue people. But he got trapped in the fire,” said police.
As his wife Pinki and son Adir reached the SSKM Hospital morgue to identify the body, they were inconsolable.
“We are all mourning Amit’s untimely demise. We are by the side of the late colleague’s family, and will be by all means,” Kolkata Police said.
Besides Amit Bhawal, eight others died in the inferno – Fire officials Girish Dey (40), Gaurav Bej (35), Aniruddha Jana (29), Biman Purkait (24), Deputy CCM of Railways Partha Sarathi Mondal (59), senior railway clerk Shrawan Pandey (56), railway staffer Sudip Das ( 57) and RPF personnel Sanjay Sahani (36).
A pall of gloom descended in the city’s Dhapa road neighbourhood when residents came to know about the death of Aniruddha Jana in the fire. Aniruddha, who worked as an Auxiliary Fire Operator on a contractual basis, was identified by a silver wrist chain since his face was badly charred. “I lost my wife a year ago. My daughter got married just a month back. I only had Aniruddha and now it’s all over for me,” said Aniruddha’s father Mohan Lal Jana.
Jana was also a Trinamool Congress worker. “He completed his education but wasn’t getting a proper job despite being a bright student. So he graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication did Masters in English. He had nothing in hand so was working in the Fire Department,” said his father.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Mohan Lal Jana and extended her condolences.
“Whenever there is such an incident all concerned authorities try to shrug off their responsibility and put blame on each other. Why there was no fire fighting equipment in such a highrise building. Secondly, why couldn’t the government check it on time? Both the Railways and the state administration are at fault. Will my son come back? Only those who have lost their family member would know the pain. For rest, it is just a matter of time,” he added.
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