Odisha government today filed two FIRs alleging negligence in conduct and safety against a private hospital where a major fire broke out killing 20 people, while administrative inquiries into the mishap have begun. Two separate FIRs have been lodged by Joint Director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Umakanta Satpathy and Fire Officer (Central Circle) B B Das with the Khandagiri police station, said ACP P K Patnaik. Sum Hospital Superintendent, three others were arrested in hospital fire incident, said Police Commissioner.
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“In both the cases, allegations of negligence in conduct and safety were levelled against the Sum Hospital authorities. A case will be registered soon,” he said, adding that some other organisations have also lodged complaints against the hospital.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said the Joint Director of DMET lodged the FIR against the hospital for alleged violation of provisions under Odisha Clinic and Establishment Act, 1992.
The minister expressed hope that the inquiry by Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) A B Ota would be conducted in a neutral and impartial manner.
The DMET’s decision to file FIR with police was taken at a meeting attended by the minister, health secretary, DMET and RDC, said a senior official.
DMET Prof P C Mohapatra, who has been leading an inquiry team, this afternoon visited the hospital and spoke to different people, including the staff, said the guilty would definitely be punished.
“The DMET had earlier issued guidelines to hospitals and clinical establishments across the state asking them to put in place fire safety measures. Licenses of those found flouting these guidelines will be cancelled,” he said.
Ota, who too launched a separate probe as per the direction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said he would ensure that the victims of the fire tragedy get justice.
“I visited the hospital and spoken to people who were present during the incident. Inquiry process has started and I’ll record statements of various people in phases,” he said.
The FIR lodged by Fire Service alleged negligence on the part of hospital authorities and claimed that fire safety norms were violated. Fire extinguishing equipment and water storage as per fire safety guidelines issued to hospitals and clinical establishments by the fire service department in 2013 were inadequate at the fire ravaged hospital, it claimed.
Director General (Fire Services) Binay Behera, who visited the hospital, said a report about the incident would be submitted to the government very soon.
Meanwhile, Odisha unit of NSUI and another local socio-cultural organisation also lodged separate complaints against the hospital at Khandagiri police station, police sources said.