Bhandara Hospital Sought Fire Safety Fund, Govt Didn’t Get Back

A fire broke out in the neonatal ward of Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra on Saturday, 9 January.

Published
India
3 min read
At least ten newborn babies died and seven other were rescued in a fire that broke out in the neonatal ward of Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra on Saturday, 9 January.
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The Maharashtra government has said that the culprits will not be spared after at least ten newborn babies passed away in a fire that broke out in the neonatal ward of Bhandara District General Hospital in the state on Saturday, 9 January. But who is the culprit?

Nurse, doctor, hospital administration or some other people?

The government is now saying that strict action will be taken. The health ministry of the same government could not take action for seven months on an application filed by this hospital. The application had been filed seeking one and a half crore rupees so that the fire safety measures can be improved in the hospital.

Fire Safety Proposal Pending for 6 Months

An RTI has revealed that a proposal, filed by a civil surgeon seeking 1.52 crore rupees for fire safety measures in the hospital, had been pending with the state health ministry for the past six months.

In 2018, RTI activist Vikas Badankar had sought information about the Annual Fire Safety Audit Report of Bhandara Government Hospital. In response to this, it was revealed that fire hydrants, sprinklers, extinguishers, smoke alarms and escape ladders were not available in the hospital.

(Photo: RTI Reply/Accessed by Quint Hindi.)   
(Photo: RTI Reply/Accessed by Quint Hindi.)   
RTI reply: Fire hydrant, sprinklers, extinguisher, smoke alarm and escape ladder not available in the hospital. 

Then two years later in June 2020, the RTI activist wrote a letter to the hospital administration asking for information about the action taken on this answer. In response to this, the hospital said that a proposal of 1.5 crore had been sent to the state health ministry on September 2020 to install fire safety system.

No action, however, was taken till this tragic incident took place.

The state’s Health Joint Director had been asked for approval of 1.52 crore fund for the hospital’s fire safety system
The state’s Health Joint Director had been asked for approval of 1.52 crore fund for the hospital’s fire safety system
(Photo: Accessed by Quint Hindi)   

Fire Safety Compliance NOC Not Granted

This specific building of the Bhandara Government Hospital was inaugurated in 2015. According to the government rules, before using any public building, it is necessary to get a Fire Safety Compliance NOC.

But it should be asked now which PWD and fire officer gave permission to start SNCU without any certificate.

There are 482 beds in this 25-year-old hospital. There is an ICU ward with 6 beds for serious patients, and 25 beds reserved for newborns.

Also, OPD service is available to more than 800 patients in the hospital.

Despite this, the fire safety of this hospital was completely ignored.

More Details

CM Uddhav Thackeray has now ordered the Divisional Commissioner, former Chief of Mumbai Fire Brigade and Committee of Experts of Electrical Department to conduct a high-level investigation of the hospital itself.

The Quint reached out to the Health Minister Rajesh Tope for clarity on why steps were not taken on the proposal sent by the hospital administration in time. The state health minister, however, could not be contacted.

Bhandara District Hospital Fire

At least ten newborn babies died and seven other were rescued in a fire that broke out in the neonatal ward of Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra on Saturday, 9 January.

On Monday, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Maharashtra over the death the infants, asking for a detailed report on the matter within four weeks, ANI reported.

Dr Pramod Khandate, a civil surgeon at the hospital, told reporters that prima facie a short circuit looks to be the cause of the fire.

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