With death toll at SUM Hospital fire tragedy reaching 22 in Bhubaneswar and reports of it flouting safety norms, the clamour to arrest the hospital's owner Manoj Nayak, who is on the run, is growing by the day.
Union Health minister JP Nadda today said that the hospital did not have fire safety clearances, adding to the growing outrage over flouted norms that likely added to the death toll.
Speaking to reporters, Nadda urged the state government to punish those guilty of flouting safety guidelines, two days after a fire broke out in the SUM hospital and gutted the intensive care and dialysis units.
“In this incident, one aspect has come up that said the hospital didn’t have clearance of fire safety measures. The state government has to take care,” Nadda was quoted as saying by ANI.
“We see some protocol breach. The inquiry report will come soon. The state government should see that punitive action is taken.”
Nayak’s story, in many ways, is that of rags to riches. Before establishing the SUM hospital in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar in 2006, Manoj, an engineer, was known as a teacher in a government engineering college.
As per reports, Nayak earned a B. Tech degree in electrical sciences from the National Institute of Technology (formerly REC) in Rourkela in 1982 and also holds a PhD in computer science from IIT Kharagpur.
Nayak started his career as a lecturer in Bhubaneswar’s College of Engineering Technology (CET). While in his job, nayak founded the Siksha O Anusandhan Trust and also founded Odisha’s first private engineering college, Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER).
At least 10 institutions including a medical college, an engineering college, dental college, biotechnology college, and nursing college among others function under the Siksha O Anusandhan University, reports Hindustan Times.
Though he has cleverly kept his name off the books. He has smartly dissociated himself from the board of management of the university
The official website of the Siksha O Anusandhan University does not even mention Nayak’s name.
According to a note from the Director, Medical Education and Training (DMET), out of the 568 fully operational private hospitals and nursing homes in the state, only three corporate hospitals -- in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri -- have fire safety certificates.
The name of SUM hospital did not figure in the list at all. It has no fire safety certificate, the note showed.
The hospital also did not adhere to the 2013 audit on fire safety measures. It did not obtain any valid fire safety certificate, said a senior fire service official.
The SUM Hospitals neither had a 25,000 litre water tank nor a functional sprinkler system that could have been used to fight a fire on the premises.
"The fire detection system did not function as it was not integrated properly. As such, there were no alarms warning the people of the situation," said the fire department in an FIR lodged by it.
It further said that there was no provision for an external fire escape staircase thereby hindering evacuation. Patients were evacuated through windows after breaking the glass panes.
The existing fire protection system available in the building -- fire hydrant system -- did not function during fire fighting and there was no water source available within the hospital premises.
On Tuesday, four officials, including the superintendent of the hospital, were arrested and four other employees suspended.