We are deeply shocked and outraged as large number of innocent newborns died from suffocation after a fire broke out at the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) at the District Hospital in Bhandara, Maharashtra today. This horrific incidence can leave absolutely no doubt that these innocent children died due to gross negligence and failure to adhere to the necessary fire safety codes by the authority and/or attending doctors/nurses at this government hospital. We have already submitted an urgent memorandum to the Maharashtra chief minister demanding that a minimum of Rs. 50 lakh must be given immediately to each family who lost a child in this horrendous hospital fire (attached). We have further demanded that an open and thorough investigation of this shocking incidence must be initiated immediately by an independent body and all individuals found guilty must be given exemplary punishment for their deadly failure to protect these vulnerable children.
More than defenseless 90 patients were burnt to death in a similar fire incidence at a premier private hospital (AMRI Hospital) in Kolkata in 2011. The AMRI hospital has reopened (after few months closure) with business as usual and all those who were responsible for this deadly fire are roaming free as the case against the powerful doctors and AMRI hospital is still languishing in the court with no justice in sight despite bold promise for expedited justice declared by the Bengal chief minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, almost a decade ago.
We hope and pray that the Maharashtra government will bring equitable justice immediately and will not play politics by trying to shield the culprits who are responsible for this ghastly death of the newborns at the Bhandara hospital to bring some solace for the ill-fated parents. PBT will move public interest litigation (PIL) before the appropriate legal forum if the government remains silent and fails to bring equitable justice for the hapless families in Bhandara.