Centre to stand by Bengal at this hour: FM

Kolkata: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday night visited the fire-ravaged AMRI hospital and the state-run SSKM hospital, where most of the injured patients were admitted, and assured the West Bengal government that the Centre would stand by it at this hour.

"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been handling the situation deftly and I assure the West Bengal government that Centre will stand by it at this hour of crisis," he told reporters during visit to the two hospitals.

Lamenting that many patients who came for treatment could not return home alive, an emotional Mukherjee said, "No word can be enough to console the bereaved families, but my heart- felt sympathies for them."

"I have learnt those who were in ICU and Orthopaedic patients could not escape. (It is tragic that) such a large number of people died!" he said.

About the rescue work by locals, he said, "I was informed by the councillor that the people of nearby Panchanantala rescued 50-55 patients from smoke-filled floors and saved their lives and rushed them to the nearby hospital at Mukundapur area. It`s a laudable role."

The devastating fire at the multi-speciality private hospital claimed 90 lives.