The fire services department wants Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the implementing agency of East-West Metro, to build one more exit each at Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations. With the first phase of this Metro line set to start services in a month, the commissioning could get delayed if the fire department insists on the additional exits before the first train is flagged off.
Last month, the fire services department conducted an inspection and recommended the extra fire exits at the two stations. The 5km stretch between Sector V and Salt Lake stadium has six stations — Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium. Both Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake Stadium stations have two staircases and an escalator each. Bengal Chemical has another exit that leads to Mani Square mall.
In addition to these three exits, the fire department wants a staircase, which can be built with concrete or iron. The exits have been decided according to projected load and evacuation time.
KMRC officials are a perturbed by the changes that the fire department has sought at this advanced stage. Even though they acknowledged that it would be possible to add the staircases without disturbing the aesthetics, they said the existing exits had been designed according to international guidelines.
The six elevated stations have been designed according to guidelines of the US-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA standard on “Fixed Gateway and Passenger Rail Systems” has become the de-facto guideline for international projects, especially those relating to urban transport. The standard prescribes that the number of exits of a Metro station must be calculated according to the projected load on the premises.
According to NFPA, at the time of emergency, people are required to be evacuated within four minutes. These include those who are inside the train that may have been affected and has pulled into the platform. In six minutes, all passengers, including those waiting at the platform, should be able to go to a safe place. The number of exit points are set up according to evacuation time.
But the fire services department pointed out that the load would increase on the days matches are played at the stadium. As for Bengal Chemical, the fire department wants an additional exit in case there is a fire in the adjoining Dattabad area that houses a slum.
State fire services director general Jag Mohan told TOI, “These are recommendations we have made to KMRC. They are subject to KMRC’s discussions. I believe there are land issues that must be sorted out with the state. We do have public interest in mind and would naturally want the maximum number of exit points in Metro stations.”
Source: Times of India