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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Hollong bungalow fire: Probe panel to visit gutted site soon, says Bengal forest minister

When asked whether any special investigation team has been formed apart from the inquiry panel, Birbaha Hansda said that currently, only a probe panel has been constituted

PTI Calcutta Published 20.06.24, 02:42 PM
Smoke and flames billow out after a fire broke out at the Hollong bungalow on Tuesday night, in Jaldapara National Park, Alipurduar district.

Smoke and flames billow out after a fire broke out at the Hollong bungalow on Tuesday night, in Jaldapara National Park, Alipurduar district. PTI

The four-member inquiry committee, formed to investigate the devastating fire at the famed Hollong bungalow in West Bengal's Jaldapara sanctuary, will visit the site soon, state Forest Minister Birbaha Hansda said.

"Two of our senior forest officials have been there since yesterday. The four-member team will also reach the site in Alipurduar district within a day or two to conduct a thorough on-the-spot inspection to ascertain the possible cause, factors, and assess the situation. I will go there on Saturday," Hansda told PTI on Thursday.

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When asked whether any special investigation team has been formed apart from the inquiry panel, she said that currently, only a probe panel has been constituted.

Chief Wildlife Warden Debal Roy told PTI that all eight rooms of the bungalow have been completely gutted, leaving only the concrete pillars supporting the structure. "It is a sad sight. Prima facie, the reason appears to be a short circuit. But forensic tests will confirm the cause," he said.

Another forest official said a complaint has been lodged by the department at Falakata police station reporting the fire. "It is routine to report to police. They will also conduct their investigation," he said.

The popular tourist lodge, a favourite with visitors since its establishment in the late 60s and later renovated, was gutted in a fire around 9 pm on Tuesday.

As the tourist season had ended with the onset of the monsoon on June 15, the bungalow was closed, and fortunately, there was no loss of lives. No reports of injury or death of wild animals in the adjacent woods have been received.

Hansda said the wooden bungalow was an asset for the state, and people have a lot of emotion and nostalgia associated with it. Asked if the state government would restore the iconic structure, the minister said, "We will act upon guidance from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee."

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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