A Bhubaneswar hospital where 21 people died in a blaze didn’t have fire safety clearance, Union health minister JP Nadda said on Wednesday, adding to growing outrage over flouted norms that likely added to the death toll.
Speaking to reporters, Nadda urged the state government to punish those guilty of flouting safety guidelines, two days after a fire broke out in the SUM hospital and gutted the intensive care and dialysis units.
“In this incident, one aspect has come up that said the hospital didn’t have clearance of fire safety measures. The state government has to take care,” Nadda was quoted as saying by ANI.
“We see some protocol breach. The inquiry report will come soon. The state government should see that punitive action is taken.”
Nadda said he would ask officials to draft stringent provisions so that the guidelines are followed. “A fresh advisory will be given to all the states so that such incidents do not take place in future,” ANI quoted the health minister as saying.
“Prima facie, I find some safety issues which need to be addressed, people’s faith need to be reposed.”
The local administration has already filed a report that says fire safety norms weren’t followed and many officials in charge of evacuation didn’t coordinate, possibly leading to many deaths and injuries. More than 100 people have been shifted out of the premises for treatment.
On Tuesday, four officials, including the superintendent of the hospital, were arrested and four other employees suspended. The arrests were made shortly after the Odisha government filed two FIRs alleging negligence in conduct and safety against SUM Hospital.