The blaze at the SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar, which killed 22 people, may have died down, but the anger and frustration in the hearts of the people are burning bright. Such is the effect of this fire that even the political class has been moved to action, and those responsible are being held accountable.
Four people associated with the hospital — 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 — have been arrested, even as stories have emergedof doctors and nurses showing exemplary courage to save children from the blaze.
As the story continues to develop, here are some live updates:
1:15 pm, IST: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issues a notice over the fire to the Odisha government.
12:50 pm IST: "Prima facie, I find some safety issues which need to be addressed. We see some protocol breaches. The inquiry report [on it] will come soon. The state government should see that punitive action is taken," Union Health Minister JP Nadda told reporters at the spot.
12:30 pm IST: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
12 pm IST: Nadda took stock of the situation, and also "Directed the Docs & staff to help the patients in best way possible. [sic]," he said in a tweet.
11:30 am IST: Nadda is at the hospital, and seeing things for himself. He will also meet the injured, their families as well as the kin of the deceased, sources say. An official statement from him can be expected later.
10:40 am IST: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan is also expected to pay a visit to the hospital.
8:30 am IST: Nadda is expected to visit the hospital and take stock of the situation. It seems the hospital itself had ignored several fire audits.
7:30 am IST: Local and national media are widely reporting on how so many hospitals in Bhubaneswar have not passed safety tests. Meanwhile, it is now emerging that Air India has proposed a special flight to ferry not only the injured, but also their attendants to Mumbai for treatment, and all free of cost!