SUM fire: NHRC takes suo moto note, puts Chief Secy on notice

Bhubaneswar, Oct 19: The National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports
that on the death of at least 21 persons at the SUM Hospital and Medical
College in Bhubaneswar after a major fire broke out on Monday evening and
served a notice to the Chief Secretary.
The Chief Secretary has been asked to
submit a report 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.
“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 three have clearance of the department of fire
safety,” the commission order stated.
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
Reportedly, the fire broke out first in
the Operation Theatre of the Dialysis Ward and spread to Medicine ICU.  The State Government has ordered a probe by
the Director, Medical Education and Training (DMET) and RDC and declared free
treatment to all injured persons.

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