WITH MYANMAR experiencing an earthquake measuring 6.7 in the Richter scale, tremors were felt across West Bengal at 4.04 pm, triggering panic.
People were seen running out to open spaces from highrises, shopping malls and offices. “We have not received any report of any loss of life or any major damage to property in the earthquake. It might be because the epicentre was in Myanmar,” a senior official at the disaster management department at the state secretariat, Nabanna, said.
Ripple effects of the quake were also felt in Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Burdwan, Birbhum, South-24 Parganas, North-24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and in North Bengal districts. There were no reports of any damages of casualty to life even from the districts or the hill areas, said an official.
Metro services were stopped for 15 minutes between 4.05 pm to 4.40 pm. Indrani Banerjee, Kolkata Metro Rail CPRO, said: “We evacuated passengers and ran empty trains from Kabi Subhas to Noapara stations to check the condition of the tracks keeping in mind the safety of passengers. Simultaneously, we ran trains on those tracks but in lesser numbers. There have been no report of any damage.”
In Lalbazar, the Kolkata Police headquarters, Joint CP (Headquarters) Supratim Sarkar said: “Due to the impact of the earthquake, around 4.05 pm, a small glazed tile fell off a minaret at Qureshi Mosque near Princep station in Bowbazar and fractured the right leg of 55-year- old Mohammed Akbar Ali. He was treated and later discharged from Calcutta Medical College.”
As the 14-store Nabanna was evacuated, top government officials, including Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, Home Secretary Malay De, DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha and Transport Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay were seen outside the building.
After the chief secretary spoke to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was on her way back from North Bengal, work was called-off for the day keeping in view the safety of the employees. “We were asked to leave much before the official working hours had ended,” said an official. Before leaving, several officials were seen taking the stairs to their offices to collect their belongings, as the elevators were not working.