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Hospital fire toll rises to 21, govt announces ex-gratia

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

One more person today succumbed to her burn injuries, taking the number of those dying in the fire at SUM hospital to 21 even as the government announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed.

Janakibla Hui was shifted to AIIMS after the fire ravaged the private medical facility on Monday evening, a spokesman of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, said.

The woman was suffering from lung and undergoing treatment at Sum hospital. She was shifted to AIIMS in a critical condition.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who earlier issued directions for free treatment to the injured in different hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, today announced an ex-gratia before leaving for

"The Chief Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the victims," a communication from his office said.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda said the Centre will soon issue fresh advisory to all states to prevent a recurrence of such incidents anywhere in the country.

Siksha 'O' Anusandhan (SOA) University, which runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital, had yesterday announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

Opposition Congress demanded that Rs 25 lakh each be given to the families of the victims. "The state government should give Rs 10 lakh each and the Centre Rs 15 lakh each to them," OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan said.

CPI National Secretary D Raja also demanded adequate compensation for the victims' families and a high-level probe into the incident.

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the National Human Rights Commission today issued a notice to the government's Chief Secretary, asking him to submit a report about the mishap in six weeks.

The rights body asked the Chief Secretary to inform about

the steps/precautions taken or proposed by the state government to prevent recurrence of such mishaps, a statement said.

The Commission observed that "callous" attitude and lapses on the part of authorities, if any, amount to violation of the right to life.

Nadda, who was here, held discussion with health officials and assured support to the state government for providing treatment to those injured in the fire.

"I am not here for a blame game. Our priority is (providing) proper treatment to those injured in the fire at the medical facility two days ago," he said.

The Minister said the state government has set up panels for conducting inquiry into the mishap.

Nadda visited the injured undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Capital Hospital, AMRI Hospital and KIMS and enquired about their condition.

In the wake of the incident, the state government has decided to conduct a fire safety audit at all government-run health care facilities in the state.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Secretary A P Padhi and attended by secretaries of energy, health departments and the Director General of Fire Service Binay Behera.

First Published: Wed, October 19 2016. 17:22 IST