Kolkata death trap: When will Mamata Banerjee act?

The blaze at Surya Sen market in Kolkata has revived the debate on fire safety norms in the city. And each time a fire has broken out in Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has blamed the Left rule in the state.

However, in the last two years, Kolkata has witnessed such fires repeatedly. In December 2011, at least 94 people were killed at the AMRI hospital fire triggering a fierce debate on the city's preparedness to tackle such incidents. And in February this year, 13 people lost their lives in a fire in a market housing a godown.

The city, once the capital of the country, is now choking to breathe, with civic amenities in disarray. And blaming the Left governments in the state is not the answer to stop such calamities. What is expected of the current government is a fresh look at city planning and the licensing system for commercial buildings.

In the backdrop of each of these fires, what has come to the fore that most of these buildings lack safety norms and brazen violation of fire safety rules by the owners of the buildings.

Mamata had won a massive mandate to overthrow the CPM. But now, the state demands accountability from her -- not just talk. Blaming her predecessors will only fuel public anger, which is already boiling in the state over falling law and order.

Now that 18 people have lost their lives in the blaze in Surya Sen market, how many more such incidents will force the government to act against those who flout safety regulations?

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