HYDERABAD: Fire at Shine Hospital leading to the death of a newborn reveals gaping holes in checks to be carried out by government agencies in ensuring safety norms at various establishments, including hospitals, where people are present.
A government order of 2016 exempted small buildings over less than 15 square metres of area from inspection by Fire Brigade officials. This was largely because of complaints of corruption and harassment by officials in the name of inspections.
Earlier, a certificate of safety was mandatory for all establishments, which ensured that inspections were carried out regularly. Officials checked buildings and inspected whether fire extinguishers were working and hose pipes were connected to water tanks for use in case of a fire in the building.
Since the order in 2016, there has been no fear of inspections by officials. As a result, small hospitals have become lackadaisical in ensuring adequate safety measures against fire. They have also abandoned the practice of checking fire systems like extinguishers and water supply on their own.
A senior doctor, who is in hospital management, explained, “In small hospitals, it is the doctor who looks after the management, as they have to manage costs.
The 2016 order was issued due to complaints of corruption. There was also shortage of manpower with the Fire Brigade to carry out inspections. Since 2016, only hospitals under National Accreditation Board of Hospitals and Healthcare are particular about fire safety norms.
There are only 14 major hospitals, which have the NABH certificate in the city.”
Following the mishap at the Shine Hospital, the disaster management wing of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has stated that 600 hospitals will be checked from Saturday onwards to ensure that there are adequate safety measures in place.
Meanwhile, a committee of additional director of health, and district medical and health officer of Rangareddy district, has been appointed to look into the accident at the Shine Hospital, which has been locked by the police pending investigations....