Families of the deceased in the Employees State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) Hospital fire should be given compensation of Rs 25 lakh from the existing Rs 10 lakh, demanded the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) on Wednesday. The union also demanded a police inquiry against labour department officials.
Following the incident on December 17, the labour ministry announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to kin of deceased, Rs 2 lakh for serious injury and Rs 1 lakh for those with minor injuries. The collector’s office also announced Rs 4 lakh to deceased’s families. The fire led to 11 deaths and 175 were injured.
On Monday, a Virar-based couple who lost their infant girl three days after the incident, received Rs 2 lakh from ESIC. According to Anil and Lalita Logavi, their premature baby, was stripped off ventilator support during rescue operations, until she was brought to an ambulance where oxygen support was reinstated. The baby died at Holy Spirit Hospital on December 20.
“Unfortunately when the cheque of two lakh was given to Lalita, the baby had died. The balance amount is under process now,” said regional director of ESIC, Dr SK Sinha, adding that the baby was critical when the compensation was approved.
On Wednesday, MP Kirit Somaiya, who discussed the issue with the labour ministry, said, “The labour minister and ESIC officials are releasing balance of Rs 8 lakh immediately to the victim’s family.”
“But giving money does not rectify their mistake. The labour union has raised a valid issue of safety,” said Anand Magre, who lost his father Asaram Magre in the incident, he received Rs 14 lakh as compensation.
The major need is to have a proper fire audit in all ESIC hospitals, said K Narayan from CITU.
“The Rs 10 lakh compensation is also low. Some of the dead were people supporting their family,” he added.
The Marol based hospital was constructed in 1977, states a circular by CITU.
“The new building’s construction began in 2009 but is yet to be completed and a delay in works has been observed. There have been minor fire episodes many times but fire safety norms continue to remain ignored,” said Mahendra Singh from CITU, adding that they have written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take action against the State Health Minister, Director General of ESIC, and Medical Superintendent of the hospital.