The Maharashtra government has now reconstituted the committee that was appointed to probe into the Bhandara hospital fire. The mishap on Saturday led to the death of 10 infants. The committee will give its report in three days.
The committee, which was to be headed by Dr Sadhana Tayade, Director of the health department, will now be headed by Dr Sanjeev Kumar, Divisional Commissioner of Nagpur. Former Mumbai fire department chief Prabhat Rahangdale will also be a part of the probe committee now.
The decision to reconstitute the committee was taken after criticism for appointment of senior health department officials for the probe. "Doubts were raised about how effective or transparent the probe will be, if the health department itself will probe about whether there were any lapses on its part," a senior officer of Maharashtra health department told CNN News18.
"I have no words to offer condolences to the family members here. All I want to say is, if someone is found guilty, we won't spare them. A proper inquiry needs to be done in this. I have also said that Rahangdale be a part of the committee," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on his visit to Bhandara on Sunday.
Senior sources in the Maharashtra government said that the medical equipment in the SNCU did not seem to have any problems as per preliminary examination. "The fuse, the circuit breakers, were found to be intact. There was electricity supply burst. The wires were found burnt," an official said.
The probe committee is now primarily going to find out if the staff which was supposed to be on duty, was sleeping during those hours or not. "If they were sleeping, as has been complained by a few parents, then it is a very serious lapse, and there will be trouble for them," he said.
The staff has told the senior health department officials that the nurses had fed the babies in the inborn department and outborn department at 1 am. They said that they were at the nursing station for filling up records about the feed given to babies.
Senior health department officials who visited the spot have reported that the hospital where the fire broke out had lot of plywood compartments. "It is true that the staff was successful in containing the fire quickly, only in that ward. It did not let it spread to other parts of the hospital. In the presence of plywood, if the hospital staff would not have acted swiftly, it would have led to further disaster," a health department official said.
The panel probing the matter is expected to give its report in three days.