Wednesday, February 1

Metro hotlines with Lalbazar, fire HQ soon

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Metro Railway now plans to have hotlines between its control room, the Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar and the fire services department headquarters. The hotlines will save precious time during emergencies like the one that occurred on the evening of December 27, 2018, when the undercarriage of a Metro rake caught fire inside the tunnel near the Maidan station. Though station staff had succeeded in controlling the blaze by the time fire services and Kolkata Police personnel reached the spot, the situation may have turned grave had the fire spread.

“We have already written to the commissioner of Kolkata Police and the director general of fire and emergency services, West Bengal. These will be dedicated lines and every time a call reaches them, officials will know that it is from the Metro. The only information they will require is the location. Such calls will also get top priority. The lines will be set up by BSNL and Metro Railway will pay for them,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said.

Since July, 2018, Metro has been urging the fire services department to play a greater role in tackling situations along the network, particularly inside the tunnels. According to another Metro official, there are limits to the kind of arrangements that transport operators like the Metro can maintain, so far as emergency services are concerned.

“Our primary job is to run trains and carry passengers. For emergencies, we do have arrangements and trained personnel. However, we can never match the expertise and facilities available with the fire services department or the Kolkata Police’s Disaster Management Group (DMG) whose primary job is to fight fires and save life and property. Similarly, we do have RPF personnel but they are not adequate to handle law and order. Hence, there is a separate force known as Metro Railway Police comprising Kolkata Police personnel,” he said.

After the fire that resulted in panic among passengers, a team from the state fire services department visited the entire network and filed a report on additional measures that need to be taken for the safety of passengers.

Source: Times of India

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