NHRC notice to the Government of Odisha over reported fire in a Bhubaneswar hospital resulting in death of 22 persons and injury to several others (19.10.2016)
New Delhi, 19th October, 2016
The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that due to suspected short circuit, a major fire broke out in the SUM Hospital and Medical College in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on the 17th October, 2016. At least 22 persons were reported dead. 40 patients in a critical condition were admitted to different hospitals. Reportedly, the hospital in question was warned as early as in 2013 for not keeping the safety measures but the hospital authorities ignored it. In Odisha, out of 568 hospitals, only 3 have clearance of the department of fire safety.
The Commission has observed that callous attitude and lapses of the authorities, if any, amount to violation of right to life of the patients. It has expressed shock how the State authorities allowed such a large number of hospitals to function without proper fire safety clearance.
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Government of Odisha through its Chief Secretary calling for a report in the matter within six weeks including the relief and rehabilitation granted to the next of Kin of the deceased and the injured. He has also been asked to inform about the steps/ precautions taken or proposed to be taken by the State Government to prevent recurrence of such mishaps.
Reportedly, the fire reportedly started in the Operation Theatre of the Dialysis Ward and spread to ICU and nearby wards. The State Government has ordered a probe by the Director, Medical Education and Training and has also declared free treatment to all injured persons.