Kolkata toll 30, civic body to dismantle damaged portions

Six more decomposed bodies were today recovered from the fire-ravaged Stephen Court today, raising the death count in Tuesday`s inferno to 30.

Kolkata: Six more decomposed bodies were
today recovered from the fire-ravaged Stephen Court today,
raising the death count in Tuesday`s inferno to 30 even as the
high court allowed civic authorities to dismantle most damaged
portions of the heritage building.

All the six bodies were spotted by firemen, Joint
Commissioner of Police (HQ) Jawed Shamim told PTI.

Search for six more missing persons was on, he said.
The bodies were found in decomposed conditions and
were charred beyond recognition.

Earlier, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation said that
the Calcutta High Court in a modified order today allowed it
to dismantle the most damaged portions of the building but
with a rider that they do it in presence of residents. The
civic body put up a notice board around the building which
said along with the removal of debris, demolition of dangerous
parts would also be carried out as per the High Court order.
Meanwhile, KMC commissioner Arnab Roy admitted that
the sanctioned building plan of Stephen Court was not found in
the KMC headquarters. "We are yet to trace the sanctioned
building plan of the building," he said, adding some papers
relating to the building were only available in record books.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had yesterday
said that two floors of the building were illegal and that
there existed a nexus between some building department
officials and realtors in the city.

KMC sources said the civic body`s lawyer had submitted
to the high court that it was extremely dangerous not to
dismantle the damaged portions of the building.

Showing photographs of the risky parts of the damaged
floors, the KMC lawyer submitted to the court that the civic
employees be allowed to resume demolition of the dangerous
parts in the interest of everyone.

Residents were allowed to enter the building for half
an hour to collect their belongings from those apartments
which were not affected by the fire. However, they demanded
that they be given more time to collect their valuables.

State-run SSKM hospital`s superintendent D
Bhattacharya said samples have been taken for DNA test of four
bodies which were disputed due to claims and counter-claims by
the relatives.

"DNA tests can be done only if the cells are found
live and it may take sometime," Bhattacharya told PTI.

Meanwhile, the city`s iconic confectioner Flury`s,
which was closed since Tuesday, today shifted temporarily to
the Park Hotel across the street.

The state government has announced formation of an
inquiry committee to go into the causes of the fire.


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