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Kolkata fire: Bengal CM slams builder-administration nexus

March 25, 2010 18:18 IST

Admitting that the fire at Stephen Court has 'opened our eyes', West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Thursday said the civic administration will be under the scanner over illegal constructions in the city.

Two floors on Stephen Court had been constructed illegally in the heart of the metropolis, said the CM. A devastating fire in the building killed 24 people on Tuesday.

"The top floors of Stephen Court are illegal. We are investigating what the Kolkata Muncipal Corporation's role was at that time.  The city has a coterie of illegal builders with whom the administration is involved. Exemplary punishment will be given. The fire has taught the government to intervene in such situations immediately," he said in the state assembly.

Bhattacharjee said the time was ripe now for the state government to be active and stricter against the violation of rules and illegal constructions.

Concerned over unauthorised constructions in the heart of the metropolis in blatant disregard of the rules, the chief minister cautioned the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Municipal Affairs and Urban Development department against such constructions.

"I understand a racket is working in connivance with a section of the administration. The fire at the Stephen Court on Park street, which claimed 24 lives, has opened our eyes and we need to intervene in such situations everywhere to prevent tragedies like these," Bhattacharjee said.

He was replying to a point of order raised by Congress Legislative Party leader Manas Bhuniya.

"Without stern action against those offending the laid down rules and allowing unauthorised constructions in the metropolis and around, the situation cannot be controlled," Bhattacharjee said.

"I can't allow such a situation to take place and I must act on it," he said.

Bhuniya later told reporters outside the House that on the basis of the chief minister's statement on the incident, both the municipal affairs and Urban Development minister Askok Bhattacharya and city Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya should resign immediately.

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