SUM Hospital fire mishap: BJP holds Naveen, Atanu responsible

Bhubaneswar: The State unit of BJP today launched a protest rally at Master Canteen Square in the city here demanding resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from his post and dismissal of Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak from the Council of Ministers holding them responsible for the Sum Hospital fire mishap on Monday.

Talking to media persons at the party office here, State BJP president Basant Panda said, “Is the hospital owner only responsible for the SUM hospital tragedy and the Chief Minister and Health minister do not have any role in it? Did not the Chief Minister and Health Minister give a free hand to the hospital to run without the specified guidelines? The Chief Minister should resign immediately and sack the Health minister on moral grounds. The mishap occurred due to the leniency of the State administration and people in position with vested interest.”

Refuting the charges, Sashi Bhusan Behera, BJD spokesperson, said when the need for participation of private players in the health sector is required, the role of the Medical Council of India (MCI) is vital to look after academic and operations of the hospitals.

“The State government only takes care of land, water supply or fire fighting issues of a company or institution interested to set up a hospital. However, the State had never ignored the violation of rules. Had the charges been true, the state would not have taken possible stringent actions, arrested the hospital owner and formed an inquiry panel. The State had not ignored any lapses. Strict action will be taken against the person at whose level the lacunae have happened. The Chief Minister is serious about the matter,” Behera said.

He, however, said the State is preparing a draft bill for strict enforcement of fire safety measures in the hospitals.

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Expressing similar view, BJD spokesperson Sameer Das said, “The Opposition is politicising the matter while demanding resignation of the Chief Minister and Health minister.”

Commenting on the matter Damodar Rout, Minister, said, “During an inspection in 2013, the state government found some lacuane in arranegments of the hospital. Therefore, the hospital owner was asked for a personal apperance to explain the reasons in detail. However, he did not depose.”

He added, “I am unable to tell why no action has been taken till 2016.”

Lambasting the State government, Union minister Jual Oram said, “A total of 586 hospitals exist in Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar. But, the DG of Fire Services, Home Guard and Civil Defence in a letter to the DMET on 4.11.2015 has said it has given permission to four hospitals only after reviewing the measures.”

Oram further said, “Unfortunately the DMET has not taken any action on hospitals who did not abide the rules. The State government authorities should be held responsible as well as they did not ensure the fire safety at hospitals.”