The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on 19 October issued a notice to the Odisha government over the massive fire at SUM hospital, in which at least 20 people were killed. The notice added that the hospital in question was reportedly warned as early as in 2013 about not adhering to safety measures, but the hospital authorities ignored it.
On the other hand, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain called for an emergency review meeting of the officials of government hospitals.
In a statement issued today, the NHRC said it had taken suo motu cognizance of reports that due to a suspected short circuit, a major fire broke out in the SUM Hospital and Medical College.
The Commission further stated that in Odisha, out of 568 hospitals, only three have clearance from the department of fire safety.
"The Commission has observed that callous attitude and lapses of the authorities, if any, amount to violation of right to life of the patients. It has expressed shock on how the state authorities allowed such a large number of hospitals to function without proper fire safety clearance," the statement added.
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the government of Odisha through its Chief Secretary, calling for a report in the matter within six weeks, including the relief and rehabilitation granted to the next of kin of the deceased and injured.
He has also been asked to provide information about the steps and precautions taken or proposed to be taken by the state government to prevent the recurrence of such mishaps.