Mamata visits gutted Kolkata slum, promises to rebuild shanties

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(Eds: Updating with fresh inputs) Kolkata, Jan 14 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday visited a gutted slum in north Kolkata's Bagbazar area and assured the dwellers that their shanties will be rebuilt by her government.

The forensic unit of Kolkata Police collected samples from the Hazari Bustee which was reduced to ashes in a blaze on Wednesday evening, rendering around 700 people homeless.

The chief minister sought a quick report from officials concerned on the cause of the fire, a senior government officer said.

During her visit, Banerjee said that affected people will be provided with food and shelter till their shanties were rebuilt.

She promised each family five kg of rice, lentils, vegetables and milk for children.

'You will stay at the Bagbazar Women's College till your residences are rebuilt,' Banerjee told the slum dwellers.

She asked state minister and local MLA Shashi Panja to ensure that an adequate number of blankets are provided to them.

Leaders of other political parties also visited the area since morning and spoke with the affected people.

Meanwhile, forensic experts went to the gutted slum and collected samples from there as part of the investigation to find out the cause of the fire.

A portion of the 'Sarada Maayer Bari' (house of Maa Sarada, the spiritual consort of Ramakrishna Paramhansa) has also been damaged in the blaze.

'We have also have collected samples from inside Sarada Mayer Bari. All these samples will be sent for examination to find out what went wrong,' a senior officer of the Kolkata Police's forensic team said.

The police are also planning to acquire CCTV footage from the area. PTI AMR/SCH NN NN