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The authorities of the Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University, which runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital, today announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims' familes before suspending four of its staff members. "The authorities will pay an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of the kins of the deceased persons and bear all medical expenses of the injured," SOU vice-chancellor Amit Banerjee told reporters here. Rejecting allegation that the high casualty was due to wrong evacuation process, Banerjee said: "We have followed the best of the evacuation protocol. Had we not followed the casualty would have been more." Banerjee claimed that the fire safety parameters were checked properly only three weeks ago and there was no lacuna on the part of the hospital authorities in the maintenance of the electrical equipment. Expressing deep concern over the incident, the vice- chancellor said that the staff had to take extra precautions while shifting the patients under the support of ventilators. "There were nine to ten people under the ventilator support," he said adding that most of the people died due to asphyxia. Assuring full cooperation to the two government probes, one headed by the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central Division and another by DMET (director of medical education and training), Banerjee said the authorities have placed four of its staff under suspension. The suspended officers include one fire officer, two engineers and one hospital manager, Banerjee said rejecting allegation that there was any irregularity in the management of the hospital. "We have suspended four officials as part of hospitals bid to maintain transparency.
Tomorrow no one should accuse that evidence was tampered with," Banerjee said. He said that the SOA announced a seven-day mourning. The classes will remain suspended for one day today, he said.
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