Mamata heckled by AMRI staff | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Mamata heckled by AMRI staff

Livelihood issues have now begun to be overlaid on the AMRI Hospital fire tragedy, in which the number of lives lost has been corrected to 90.

kolkata Updated: Dec 13, 2011 22:25 IST
HT Correspondent

Livelihood issues have now begun to be overlaid on the AMRI Hospital fire tragedy, in which the number of lives lost has been corrected to 90.

Employees at the unit, which had lost its licence on the day of the fire on Friday, are comparing the tragedy to train accidents, for which no one talks of shutting down Indian Railways.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who went on a surprise visit to AMRI on Tuesday at around 11.45am, was greeted with protests by hospital staff members, who said the cancellation of the licence would mean a loss of about 3,000 jobs.

Taken aback by the demonstrations, the chief minister said she was amazed to see staff members had no "regret" after the loss of so many lives. This response incensed the workers even more and they started questioning her about who would take responsibility for their jobs and the livelihood of their families.

"Do the railways stop operating after any train accident?" an agitating staff member asked.

Banerjee said before leaving the place: "I have nothing to do if they lose their jobs, although I do not want anyone to lose his or her job. They are the responsibility of the AMRI Hospital. I came here to trace a patient and I have found him."

The employees also assaulted the media and blockaded a busy road. A reporter of a vernacular news channel was beaten up severely. He later filed an FIR at the local police station. However, no one was arrested.

Meanwhile, Kolkata Police arrested two more senior officials of the hospital in connection with the mishap. The arrested duo were senior manager (maintenance) Sanjib Pal and vice-president (projects) Satybrata Upadhyay. With these, the number of arrests in the case has touched nine.

The fire originated at the hospital basement, where the management used to store highly inflammable materials such as petrol and PVC pipes, as stated in the report of the director-general of fire services, DP Tarania, a senior IPS officer.

"It has been revealed the fire originated in the basement, where the hospital authorities used to store highly inflammable materials. The cause of the fire will be ascertained by forensic officials," fire services minister Javed Khan said.