Blaze at UP's largest trauma centre exposes safety laxity

PTI7_15_2017_000142B Fire at King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow | PTI

The trauma centre has been running without a fire NOC for the past 17 years

The recent fire that engulfed the trauma centre of the King George Medical University (KGMU), and killed around 14, including patients, exposes gross negligence on part of the authorities. 

The state's biggest trauma centre, which can house around 1,600 people at a time, including patients, attendants, medical staffs and others, has been running without a fire NOC (No Objection Certificate) for the past 17 years. 

Blaming the trauma centre for the same, the fire brigade department of the state government had sent a notice to the KGMU administration in this regard, but the latter had kept it aside.

The whole centre was running on a mere couple of smoke detectors, exposing the sheer apathy of safety measures. While the hospital administration had sanctioned Rs 8 crore to the Jal Nigam (water corporation) about five years ago to install fire fighting system, it is yet to be installed. 

Last year, when another city hospital was caught in a massive fire, an investigation was done on the trauma centre also to find out if it was well equipped to deal with fire fighting. However, the report was never considered seriously by the administration.

While the Commissioner of Lucknow division confirmed death of six patients, unofficial sources estimate the toll to be around 14. Curiously, the medical university administration denied any case of death due to the fire till last night. The chief medical superintendent S.N. Shankwar had said that these deaths might have taken place due to laxity in rescue operations while patients were being taken out.

The fire is believed to have been caused due to a short circuit and an official inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

Meanwhile, chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the DG-fire safety to monitor conditions of fire safety measures in all hospitals, government offices, multi-storey buildings and other important installations. The Lucknow commissioner has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report within three days.

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