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Day after devastation: Thrust on rebuilding life, forensic team collects samples for probe

Day after devastation: Thrust on rebuilding life, forensic team collects samples for probe
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Kolkata: On Thursday morning, occupants of Hazar bustee in Bagbazar were rummaging through the debris to see if they could salvage anything from their still smouldering shanties. An occupant, Ranjan Das, was searching for his belongings frantically shifting the charred iron sheets to pick up pieces for rebuilding life. But, he gave up soon. Nothing remained of the slum! "The fire has engulfed everything," said another occupant, who was seen carrying the blackened metal sheets of almirahs.

Amid all the despair, there was also a ray of hope. The Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, announced that the state government would rebuild lives in the slum, which was engulfed by the blazing inferno on Wednesday night.

Shashi Panja, TMC MLA, Shyampukur and minister of state for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, also visited the spot and assured the occupants of rendering necessary help. "We have listened to people's problems and have assured them that we would do everything they want us to do for rebuilding lives," she said.

Meanwhile, forensic experts also visited the slum during afternoon to collect samples for further examination. The samples would be examined to ascertain the cause of the devastating fire.

After breaking out in the slum adjacent to Bagbazar Womens' College, the fire soon spread to the nearby buildings including the heritage structure 'Sarada Mayer Bari' and a godown of books. But, Ramkrishna Mission authorities stated that no damage had been caused to 'Mayer Bari' or the house where Maa Sarada lived.

Some doors, windows and AC machines at Udbodhon office were damaged by the fire.

This apart, several students living in the slum had lost their books. They were left worried about the future. Jayanti Mondal, a student of class X, was heartbroken as her books and other documents were turned into ashes. "Now, my only hope relies on the teachers and friends," she said.

A residential building, adjacent to the slum, was also damaged. Around 8 families lived there. The front portion of the building was damaged badly as the flames ravaged the top floor. Due to the explosion of the LPG cylinders, several window panes were broken. Ujjawal Banerjee, a resident of the building, was busy clearing the broken pieces of the window panes from his room.

"When the fire had broken out, my wife, son and elderly parents were inside the flat. When I returned from office, I immediately evacuated them," he said.

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