A mysterious fire broke out in one of the rooms of the health secretariat at Vikas Bhawan here on Tuesday.
The fire, which officials said was controlled within half an hour, burnt down many files and documents. Some of them pertained to the recruitment of general and auxiliary nursing midwives (GNM and ANM). Recruitment of GNM and ANM is already mired in controversy, following allegations of wrong doing.
Rumours were also doing the rounds that some files gutted in the fire pertained to the drugs purchase scam, in which some high-ranking officers were issued show-cause notices.
However, scotching all such rumours, the health department said in an official communiqué that no important document, which would affect the functioning of the department, were destroyed in the fire.
“The room where the fire broke out contained only waste papers. No important documents, which would otherwise affect the functioning of the department, were destroyed,” said Anil Kumar, spokesperson of the health department. He also ruled out any foul play or suspected sabotage.
He said that a joint committee, comprising officials of the health, the building construction and the fire services department, had been constituted to ascertain the reasons leading to the fire.
The committee had to submit its report within three days. The panel had also been mandated to give its suggestions so that such incidents do not recur.
Health officials said the fire broke out at around 9.15am and was controlled within 30 minutes. “We saw smoke billowing out of one of the rooms on the third floor of the health secretariat when we reached office at around 9.30am. Three fire tenders were rushed to control the fire,” said another official.
Later, principal secretary, health, RK Mahajan inspected the room where the fire broke out. The health department was yet to assess the exact damage in the fire.