Odisha Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak resigned from his post on Friday, October 21, after the death toll from the fire at the SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar reached 25. Manoj Nayak, the owner of the hospital, who many blame for skimping on safety measures, surrendered to the police on Thursday.
On Friday, Nayak, following constant pressure from the Opposition, tendered his resignation to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who accepted it. Speaking about the decision, Patnaik said Nayak had "resigned on moral grounds." He also said: "I have accepted his resignation and sent it to the governor."
Meanwhile, the death toll from the fire rose to 25, as one more person undergoing treatment succumbed to injuries on Friday, a health official said. "While two other patients succumbed to their injuries in the Capital Hospital on Thursday night, one more died on Friday," he said. Sheikh Qurban of Khurda, who was undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Bhubaneswar, succumbed to his injuries four days after blaze erupted on Monday.
The police have already arrested four people, including former executive engineer Amulya Kumar Sahu responsible for electrical maintenance, fire safety officer Santosh Das and retired junior engineer Malay Kumar Sahu, also responsible for electrical maintenance, in connection with the case and charged them with criminal negligence, including culpable homicide, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and negligence with regard to fire safety.
Union Health MinisterJP Ndda has visited both the hospital and the injured, and assured stringent action against those found guilty of negligence.
It has also emerged that the SUM Hospital had lost its accreditation to the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) some time ago. NABH CEO Dr KK Kalra had recently said: "SUM Hospital lost its accreditation about two months ago when the surveillance team found it to be wanting on several counts. NABH does not have specific standards for various units of the hospital but SUM was found to be lacking in overall compliance to our standards."
[With agency inputs]