Kolkata, March 25 : Kolkata continued to play with fire when the record room of the West Bengal government-run Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) was destroyed in a blaze Sunday. A state minister later called it a case of sabotage.
"At a time when the government is trying to revive the loss-making transport corporation, comes this fire. This is a clear case of sabotage. During the previous regime, a huge amount of money had been siphoned off from the CSTC, and to prevent this scam from getting known, this blaze has occurred," said Transport Minister Madan Mitra.
The minister has also announced setting up of a three-member probe team to look into the matter.
"The record room is just beside the CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) office and the day we were to make a surprise visit here comes this fire. A three-member team has been ordered to probe the matter and submit its report within 72 hours," added Mitra.
He also said that no union office will be allowed within the vicinity of a transport corporation office or depot.
The fire which broke out at the CSTC depot in Belghoria in the north of the city was doused after an hour. Four fire tenders were pressed into service. No injury has been reported. A large portion of the record room was damaged. The CITU office was also partially burnt.
Sunday's incident is the latest in Kolkata. On Wednesday (March 21), a blaze broke out at the emergency department of the SSKM Hospital - the largest state-run referral hospital in Bengal.
Kolkata has also witnessed two big fire tragedies in the past two years. Ninety-four people died when a fire broke out at the AMRI Hospital in the city Dec 9, 2011. On March 23, 2010, a fire broke out at the 150-year-old Stephens Court building, in which 24 people were killed -- another 13 yet remain untraced.