The Bhandara District General Hospital, in which 10 newborns died in a fire, had been operating without the mandatory no objection certificate (NOC) from the local fire department since its inception in 1981.
In 2015, when the hospital constructed an extension to open a sick newborn care unit (SNCU), a medical store and a nutrition rehabilitation centre, no fire NOC was obtained from the Bhandara Nagar Parishad.
Senior district officials also said the building was handed over by the PWD to the public health department without an occupation certificate.
Since 2015, only one fire drill has taken place under the Kayakalp scheme in 2016-17.
A six-member committee comprising health and fire officials and electrical engineers is conducting a detailed inquiry into the death of 10 newborns in the hospital’s SNCU early January 9.
While the SNCU’s oxygen pipe and electric wiring system had melted, its air-conditioning system and one radiant warmer were gutted. Officials suspect the fire either started in one radiant warmer in the “out-born section” or in the electric wiring, since both sustained maximum damage.
The four-storey civil hospital building has 482 beds. Early last year, over 300 more beds were added for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. “The entire building’s wiring system is very old. We have raised this issue several times,” a health official said.
Last November, the Bhandara district health office had written to the Bhandara Nagar Parishad to conduct a fire audit. Earlier, a letter, again requesting a fire audit, was sent to the Nagar Parishad in 2018. When contacted, Bhandara Collector Sandeep Kadam said, “The inquiry is on. We are looking into the matter.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines