Earthquake leaves Kolkata panic-stricken

Earthquake leaves Kolkata panic-stricken

Metro services were disrupted, people were evacuated mainly from the multi-storeyed buildings, several buildings developed cracks, people rushed out into the open and stood in clusters on the pavements and roads, turning the bustling city into a panic-stricken metropolis after an earthquake was felt during prime business hours.

Employees came out of their high rise office building following an earthquake in Kolkata on Wednesday. PTI

According to the Seismological Centre here, a slight tremor was felt at 2.08 pm in the city and in South and North 24 Parganas adjacent to Kolkata, besides the north Bengal town of Siliguri. The tremors lasted nearly 45 seconds. People working and staying in high-rise buildings were the first to feel the tremor and  ran down to the roads, causing huge traffic jams.

The disaster management group of Kolkata Police was deployed in different parts of the city as a precautionery measure. People working in Sector-V, the IT town of Kolkata, felt the tremor more than others. Most of the IT majors asked the employees to vacate the buildings. “I was working on the 8th floor. Suddenly, for a few seconds, I felt everything was shaking. The cup started shaking and the tea spilled over. I was scared and once I realised that it could be an earthquake, I rushed down,” Anubha Sarkar, an employee working in a multinational firm at Park Street said. 

A P J House, a prominent office building located on Park Street, developed major cracks. Apart from that two high rises in central and south Kolkata reportedly leaned after the quake and experts rushed to the spot for inspection. Some old buildings in North Kolkata have reportedly been damaged.

“We are yet to get the entire reports. Our teams including experts form Kolkata Municipal Corporation are going to different areas to take stock of the situation. Once they come in, we will be able to assess the actual damage caused by the quake” Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters), Jawed Shamim, said.

Metro services were suspended for nearly two hours and people were asked to vacate the station as a precautionary measure. “ After inspection of the tracks and stations, metro services were resumed,” a metro official said.

Kolkata safe zone

Little damage has been reported from the hills where too the tremors were felt. District administrations in East Midnapore and South 24 Paraganas have asked people to move out from the coastline to safer places. Tsunami alert has been sounded at Sagardwip and Kakdwip areas of Bengal coast.

According to seismologist Damodar Maity, “Kolkata in general is not an earthquake prone zone but there are some pockets in the city and in the surrounding areas which are quake prone”.

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