Should a fire like the one that gutted Kolkata’s AMRI Hospital on Friday happen in Delhi, the consequences would be equally disastrous. Nearly one-tenth of Delhi hospitals are still to get no-objection certificates from the fire department.
Sprinklers, smoke detectors and ‘room compartmentalisation’, that helps prevent the spread of fire, are missing in many Delhi’s hospitals, putting thousands of lives at risk.
There are nearly 41 government and 40 private hospitals in Delhi. Of them, three government and seven private ones are in the fire department’s list of defaulters.
“We are working closely with all hospitals to keep fire safety requirements in place. It is on the health department to get cracking on hospitals flouting norms,” said AK Sharma, director, fire services.
While sprinklers help in dousing fire, compartmentalising helps prevent fire in one block from spreading to another. “This aids rescue operations,” he said.
The Cardiovascular and Neuro Sciences Centre at AIIMS, which houses the VVIP ward, does not have a no-objection certificate. Nor does the AIIMS Medical Library at Ansari Nagar and four wings of the Rajendra Prasad Centre of Ophthalmic Sciences, including two hostel buildings housing over 1,000 people at the institute.
“I do not want to comment until I have verified all details,” said AIIMS director Dr R.C. Deka, who held several meetings on Friday to fill in the fire safety gaps.
The orthopaedic wing of Lok Nayak is another defaulter. “Only our OPD and smaller wards are functional in that building. Once the block is completely functional, I am certain we will have met all the requirements,” said Dr Richa Diwan, medical superintendent.
Two buildings of Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital — the 500-bedded new block and new wing comprising the gynaecology and paediatrics wings — also flout fire safety norms.