Presidency fire causes major damage (Second Lead)

Friday, October 29, 2010

KOLKATA - A major fire raged for three hours at the Presidency University, housed in the erstwhile Presidency College, here Friday destroying computers, documents and research material.

There were no reports of casualties as the institution was closed for Durga Puja and Diwali holidays, police and university sources said.

Eleven fire tenders battled the fire in the chemistry laboratory on the third floor of the Derozio building. The blaze was controlled after three hours.

The laboratory, reputedly one of the best in the country, suffered extensive damages with furniture, documents and research materials getting destroyed.

“The computers were gutted. Invaluable data of research projects stored in the computers have been lost for ever,” lamented a professor.

The cause of the fire was not known, said acting principal Amitabha Chattopadhyay. A fire brigade official alleged that the institution didn’t have proper fire safety measures.

Founded in 1817 as Hindu College, the institution was named Presidency College in 1855 and cradled the 19th century Bengal Renaissance.

Earlier this year, the West Bengal assembly passed a bill upgrading the 193-year-old Presidency College into a university.

The college’s alumni include nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, social reformer Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Marxist legend Jyoti Basu, economist Amartya Sen and scientist Satyendranath Bose.

The country’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, and present West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were also students of the college.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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