Lucky To Be Alive, Says Commuter After Fire In Kolkata Metro

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The fire on the metro was detected just after 5 pm, when people exited offices to go home.


Chaos descended on the streets of Kolkata after the disruption of metro services following a fire in a metro coach that engulfed several carriages in suffocating smoke.

Seven people suffering from breathing difficulties and panic were admitted to a hospital. Almost 40 people were brought to the hospital but given first aid and released.

The chaos underground brought large parts of Kolkata to a halt over ground. Thousands of people were either walking to their destinations or waiting endlessly for elusive transport.

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The fire on the metro was detected just after 5 pm, when people exited offices to go home.

All buses were packed like the proverbial tin of sardines. On top of it, radio taxis were scarce. Some drivers had called for a strike to demand a better deal. Those who flouted the strike call were thrashed by striking cabbies at several places on the EM Bypass, including the Ruby Hospital crossing.

A man fell down trying to board a bus at Exide crossing and just escaped being run over.

A woman stood with two children and several suitcases for hours while her husband went looking for a taxi. A group of office colleagues were walking from Dalhousie in central Kolkata and the destination was Jadavpur in extreme south Kolkata, easily a four-hour trek though the city.

There were some lucky ones too today. Sukanta Dey for instance. He was on the metro when the train came to a grinding halt around 5 o'clock just as it was approaching the Maidan metro station, travelling from Garia in the south to Dumdum in the north.

Mr Dey said the suffocation was terrifying till someone started breaking the glass windows of the AC coaches and let out the smoke.

He was a little hurt when he was trying to get off the train and walked to the station.

"But at least I am alive," Mr Dey said when NDTV met him near the Rabindra Sarobar Metro station.

He was looking for transport back home to Krishna Nagar in Nadia district which is about 120 km away. He had no idea how he was going to go back. But, he said he was lucky he escaped with his life.

As did Suresh Singh, stuck in the smoke engulfed metro train. He was so agitated, he could barely relate the sequence of events.

Mithun Dutta, an office goer, stepped out of his office and saw the disruption. "The metro is our one and only lifeline. It has collapsed and the entire city has collapsed. We must have alternatives."

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