'Staircases, escalators at Bengal Chemical, Salt Lake stadium stations enough to handle emergency'
Kolkata: The Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Limited (KMRCL) that is executing the East-West Metro project will soon write to the state Fire and Emergency Services department informing them that the staircases and escalators at Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium Metro stations are sufficient for quick evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency. The state Fire department had recommended additional exits for quick passenger evacuation.
"We have followed the guidelines of US-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on 'Fixed Gateway and Passenger Rail Systems' which has become the standard regulation for international projects, particularly those connected with urban mobility. The calculated volume of passengers which will be using this station can be evacuated by the time frame set by NFPA," a senior official of the KMRCL said.
According to the NFPA, people need to be evacuated in four minutes time during an emergency. There are six stations in the route from Sector V to Salt Lake stadium which the KMRCL is hopeful of making operational by July. This route includes Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium. The state Fire department has already given clearance to four of these stations after fire audit but is yet to do so in case of Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium. There are two staircases and one escalator in these two stations. "We have already given the Metro authorities land on behalf of the state Urban Development department for an additional staircase. This will be able to clear out passengers at a faster pace during any emergency. The state government gives utmost priority to people's safety and security," state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sujit Bose said.
The state Fire department had reasoned that there would be huge rush incase of a soccer match at the Salt Lake stadium. The additional exit at Bengal Chemical has been recommended keeping in mind the Duttabad slum which caught fire on more than one occasions earlier and is located close to the station.