After a crackdown on four senior officials for the Dussehra stampede in Bihar that claimed 33 lives in Patna, it's now the turn of eight doctors to face the music for neglecting their duties, an official said on Tuesday.
The action comes two days after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi visited the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) to meet the stampede victims and found that doctors, including the hospital superintendent, were unavailable.
The chief minister was shocked to see the hospital in a dirty, unhygienic condition. Following his visit, the health department has decided to take action against the doctors.
Health minister Ramdhani Singh on Monday night ordered the suspension of PMCH superintendent Lakhendra Prasad, who was not present in the hospital during Manjhi's surprise visit.
The doctors from the surgery, orthopaedics and urology departments and four other units in-charge are likely to be transferred, said an official of the health department.
"As the health minister has ordered action against them, a formal notice will be issued any time on Tuesday," the health official said, adding the action against the doctors was taken amid Manjhi's clear stand to punish those who neglect their duties.
Earlier, Manjhi told reporters: "The doctors were not on duty. I interacted with the stampede victims and other patients. About 80% of the prescribed medicines were unavailable and were bought from outside. Only injections are given in the hospital."
"I tried to meet and called for the PMCH superintendent, but he was not present in the hospital," the chief minister said after his visit to the PMCH.
Patna district magistrate Manish Verma and senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj were suspended on Sunday following the incident on October 3 after the burning of the Ravana effigy at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
DIG central range Ajitabh Kumar and divisional commissioner N. Vijayalakshmi were also transferred in view of the administrative lapses during the stampede.
A two-member committee comprising principal home secretary Amir Shubani and additional director general of police Gupteshwar Pandey, who are probing the stampede, will hold a public inquiry on October 7 at the district collectorate in Patna to hear accounts of the eyewitnesses.
The team was constituted by the state government after Manjhi ordered an inquiry into the incident that also injured 29 people.