‘Matter of concern’: Union home secretary writes to states over fire incidents in Covid-19 hospitals in Gujarat

 ‘Matter of concern’: Union home secretary writes to states over fire incidents in Covid-19 hospitals in Gujarat

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Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla has said that the incidents of fire in hospitals and nursing homes in which Covid-19 patients died is a matter of concern. In a letter to state chief secretaries, Bhalla asked ensure compliance of advisories issued by the home ministry.

“I would like to draw your attention towards occurrence of fire incidents in hospitals/nursing homes in recent past. Non-adherence of fire safety measures by authorities is a matter of concern,” Bhalla said in his letter.

“Recently, six precious lives of Covid-19 patients were lost in a fire incident in ICU ward of a hospital in Rajkot and eight lives were lost in a hospital in Ahmedabad. When India is fighting against Covid-19, utmost precaution needs to be taken to avoid such incidents,” he further said in the letter.

The Union home secretary asked the chief secretaries of various states to ensure compliance of advisories issued by the Centre (home ministry) and direct officials concerned to re-inspect/re-check all hospitals/nursing homes from the point of view of fire protection and means of escape.

Five people were booked on Sunday on the charge of causing death by negligence in connection with fire at a designated private Covid-19 hospital in Gujarat’s Rajkot. Five people were killed due to the blaze.

The accused included chairman, executive director, and other officials of Gokul Healthcare Pvt Limited which operates Uday Shivanand Covid Hospital, where the five deaths had occurred.

The police said that their probe revealed violation of multiple norms by management of the hospital.

“The hospital was started in three floors rented at a hospital being run by Shivanand Mission Trust. Several norms were found to be flouted and negligence of hospital administrators came to fore during investigation,” Rajkot DCP Manoharsinh Jadeja.

The DCP said the ICU emergency gate was found blocked, as a result of which it could not be used for rescue when the blaze erupted.

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