SUM Hospital tragedy: NHRC seeks report from Odisha govt in six weeks

New Delhi: Taking suo motu cognizance of the media report on the death of 21 patients who died in a major fire in SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar in the evening on October 17, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notice to the Odisha government asking it to submit a report in this matter within six weeks.

The Commission in its notice to the state government through Chief Secretary AP Padhi also directed to mention other details including relief and rehabilitation to the next of kin of the deceased and the injured as well as precautionary measures taken or proposed to be taken by to prevent recurrence of such mishaps.

Reportedly, the hospital in question was warned as early as in 2013 for not keeping the safety measures, but the hospital authorities ignored it. In Odisha, out of 568 hospitals, only 3 have clearance of the department of fire safety.

The Commission observed that callous attitude and lapses of the authorities, if any, amount to violation of right to life of the patients. It also expressed shock and anguish over the permission of the state government to such a large number of hospitals to function without proper fire safety clearance.

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Reportedly, the fire started in the Operation Theatre of the Dialysis Ward and spread to ICU and nearby wards.  The state government has ordered a probe by the Director, Medical Education and Training (DMET) and declared free treatment to all injured persons.