Calcutta, March 2: The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) will begin a survey of the city’s markets from Monday following a prod from chief minister Mamata Banerjee who has sought a report on their condition within a fortnight.
Mamata had summoned municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim and mayor Sovan Chatterjee to her Kalighat home on Thursday morning, two days after a fire at Surya Sen Market. One more person died today, taking the toll to 22.
The chief minister reportedly told Hakim and Chatterjee to take steps to prevent a repeat of such incidents and demanded a status report on markets and unsafe buildings within a fortnight.
“We have formed two seven-member teams in each borough. They will inspect the markets and submit a report to the CMC. The civic body will compile a report based on the survey and submit it to the chief minister,” said Tarak Singh, the mayoral council member (markets).
During a meeting at the civic headquarters today, the inspection teams were handed over a questionnaire that they will have to fill up while speaking to owners of markets and shops. The teams will have to submit daily reports to the market superintendent in charge of each borough.
Based on the reports, the municipal commissioner will compile a report and submit it to the chief minister.
The inspection teams will find out whether all market floors have CMC sanction, the number of exit gates and staircases, availability of space for building more staircases and the nearest water source. The teams will also have to find out if passages are encroachment-free. The team will report on the condition of electricity wires and the fire-safety measures in place.
“Based on the report of the municipal commissioner, the chief minister may direct specific departments to conduct inspections at the markets,” a civic official said.
The borough-level inspection teams will have officials from the civic body’s market, licence, solid waste management, building, assessment and lighting departments. A representative of the local councillor or borough chairperson will also be a part of the survey team.
“This is a first-of-its-kind survey. We do not have the status report of the private markets in the city. This survey will help create a database of all existing markets,” said a senior civic official.
In the past, too, committees had been formed after fires at Stephen Court and the AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria. The committee members had visited buildings and recommended fire-safety measures. Shops in 13 buildings were denied trade licences as they had not followed the recommendations.