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Mysterious blast causes panic at Kolkata's Chittaranjan National Medical College

There was panic at Kolkata's Chittaranjan National Medical College on Saturday morning. Two hospital sweepers were injured in an alleged 'carbide reacting with water' incident though many still fear it was a crude bomb. Disgruntled employees are, not surprisingly, asking why there was carbide in the OPD in the first place and the blast shows how unsafe the hospital compound has become. Befuddled forensic experts are still unsure about the exact case. . Minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya has ordered an inquiry by a five-member committee (apart from the police investigation) and asked for the report by Sunday.

Putul Mullick, one of the two hospital sweepers said she and Amit Raut were sweeping the OPD corridor when one of their brooms touched a polythene bag behind a trolley and it exploded.

The area was quickly cleared of patients and employees and the bomb disposal squad swept the area and couldn't find anything to suggest that it was a bomb.

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"There was no bomb. It was carbide that mixed with water and initiated a chemical reaction," said Sidhhartha Chakraborty, medical college principal. But police are yet to confirm his theory. "We found a bottle with some liquid that we have sent for tests," said an officer. The blast brought hospital activities to a halt for more than two hours.

Trinamool Congress MLAs Nirmal Majhi and Swarnakamal Saha stood by the bomb theory. Fire services minister Javed Khan, however, didn't comment on the explosion. He only suggested a review of the hospital security system.

Recently, a baby was stolen from the hospital reiterating the belief that security arrangements at government hospitals are woefully inadequate.

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