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Odisha's Tragedy-hit Hospital Had No Fire Clearance

Press Trust Of India

First published: October 19, 2016, 11:46 PM IST | Updated: October 19, 2016
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Odisha's Tragedy-hit Hospital Had No Fire Clearance
Fire rages at the hospital in Bhubaneswar on October 17. (TV GRAB)

Bhubaneshwar: The SUM Hospital here, where a devastating blaze on Monday claimed 21 lives, was running without fire safety clearance, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said on Wednesday, even as the police issued a 'Lookout Circular' against two members of the trust that runs the facility.

The Minister, who visited various hospitals to inquire about the condition of those injured, said the Centre would soon issue a fresh advisory to all states to avoid repeat of such incidents.

"The hospital did not have fire safety measures in place. In spite of that, the hospital was running. It is a serious matter," Nadda told reporters, terming the tragedy as "very serious, worrisome and shocking".

Under pressure for arresting the owner of the hospital, the the Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack issued a 'Lookout Circular' against two senior members of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust which runs the hospital. Commisioner of Police Y B Khurania told reporters that the Circular (LOC) was issued against Manoj Nayak and Saswati Das who cannot leave the city without prior police permission as they needed to cooperate with the probe. The Union Home Ministry has been informed about the circular. Airport authorities have been asked not to let them leave the city in case they make an attempt.

Meanwhile, in a startling claim, the National Human Rights Commission said only three of Odisha's 568 hospitals have fire safety clearance and issued a notice to the state government over the hospital tragedy, the worst of its kind in the state.

"In Odisha, out of 568 hospitals, only three have clearance of the department of fire safety," the NHRC said in a statement on Wednesday and issued a notice to the Odisha Chief Secretary, seeking a report in the matter within six weeks, including on the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the next of kin of the deceased and the injured.

"We have to see that such incidents do not repeat. I will ask the officials to make more stringent provisions. I will personally see which issues need to be revisited. A fresh advisory will be given to all the states so that such incidents do not take place anywhere," Nadda told reporters before winding up his one-day visit to the state.

Though fire safety is a matter related to Home department, Health department also has a responsibility to ensure safety of patients in hospitals, he said.

Nadda held discussion with health officials and assured support to the state government for providing treatment to those injured in the fire.

"I am not here for a blame game. Our priority is (providing) proper treatment to those injured in the fire at the medical facility two days ago," he said. Nadda visited the injured undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Capital Hospital, AMRI Hospital and KIMS and enquired about their condition.

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