Five years after a devastating fire claimed 93 lives in Dhakuria’s AMRI Hospital, the owners are looking to reopen one of its buildings which has remained shut since the tragedy. According to a source from the AMRI Group, an application seeking a No Objection Certificate (NoC) was recently submitted to the fire department so that the group can apply for licences to reopen Annexe-1, the building in which the fire had originated. However, the fire department denied having received any such application, adding that they had only received a request for a temporary power connection.
“We are successfully running Annexe-2 and the main building. We have submitted an application to the fire department. There will be many rounds of inspection and then, according to the guidelines given by the department, we will renovate the building. Since that unfortunate incident, this is the first time that we have submitted an application for licence in the fire department,” Rupak Barua, Group CEO, AMRI Group of Hospitals, told The Indian Express.
The hospital comprises of three buildings, the main and two annexes. After the fire broke out on December 9, 2011, Annexe-1, which housed the in-patient department, was sealed by the police. In 2014, the hospital managed to get a licence under the Clinical Establishment Act to admit patients to its main unit and Annexe-2. The licence was given for 202 beds. An NOC from the fire department is crucial for the group to begin the process of applying for several licences from the health department, civic authorities and other permissions to reopen Annexe-1. “The process is time-consuming, but we are hopeful that in the near future, we will start our operations from Annexe-1,” said an official from the AMRI Group.
Apprehending that the ongoing trial against 16 accused in the case might pose as an obstacle in their applications, the group had filed a petition in the Alipore court in 2015 to obtain a no-objection order. “We had submitted a petition, which the court rejected,” said advocate Salim Rehman.
Fire department officials said they haven’t been approached by AMRI authorities. “No question of inspecting the building arises. We have just received an application seeking a temporary electric connection to clean the premises and we are looking into it,” a fire department official told Express.
A senior AMRI official said, “Once the group gets an NOC from the fire department, which will take time, we will move ahead with an application for a clinical establishment licence from the health department and other statutory bodies.” Barua said, “We will use a part of it (Annexe-1) as an administrative department. It will be restricted for outdoor services. We may start diagnostic centres and use the conference rooms at Annexe-1.”