New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued notice to the Odisha government over the deaths of 20 persons in the October 17 fire that broke out in Bhubaneswar’s SUM Hospitals.
Taking cognizance of the issue, the commission observed that the SUM Hospitals was warned as early as 2013, for not adhering to safety norms but the hospital authorities ignored.
The commission also took note of the fact that out of 568 hospitals in Odisha, only three cleared the fire safety requirements. It also slammed the state government.
The commission said: “The callous attitude and lapses of the authorities, if any, amount to violation of right to life of the patients.”
“It is a matter of shock how the state authorities allowed such a large number of hospitals to function without proper fire safety clearance,” said the NHRC.
It issued a notice to the Odisha government through its Chief Secretary, and asked for a report on the incident within six weeks.
The report should include the relief and rehabilitation granted to the next of kin of the deceased and the injured.
The commission asked the state to include in the report the steps and precautions being taken or proposed to be taken by it that could prevent recurrence of such tragedy.
Twenty persons were killed, and 106 others were injured, in the Monday fire in the ICU of the Dialysis Ward of the SUM Hospitals, that has 750 beds and 25 intensive care units.
The fire reportedly started in the Operation Theatre of the dialysis ward and spread to the ICU and nearby units.
The state government has ordered a probe, while the Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) had declared free treatment to all injured.
Four hospital officials have so far been arrested in the case, and the owner’s arrest is likely soon.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Wednesday visited the SUM Hospitals and met the injured. He called for strong action against those responsible for the tragedy.