Amidst the rising fire accidents in the city causing great deal of loss to life and property, a shocking revelation surfaced from the so called fully equipped hospitals of Nagpur. It came out that most of the hospitals are running without fire department’s NOC while many of them have not renewed their fire certificate for the last many years. Prominent among these include Wockhardt Hospital in Shankar Nagar, Orange City Hospital at Khamla Square, Sunflower Hospital, Aziz Khan’s Hospital, Chandak Nursing Home, Midas Heights, CIIMS Hospital among others.
Ironically, Government Medical Hospital has been also running without NOC.
An RTI query filed by a social activist and president of People Against Corruption, Sanjay Agrawal revealed that only 127 hospitals have been registered at NMC’s Fire Department, and even 90 per cent of them did not renew their fire licenses. The information showed that many of these hospitals did not even undergo any renewal ever after obtaining NOC for the first time.
Surprisingly, neither NMC nor the Fire department officials initiated any action against the rule breakers who are putting the lives of hundreds of patients and their relatives under high risk. The department’s NOC means the concerned facility has appropriate fire fighting system to deal with emergency.
Agrawal alleged the connivance between officials and hospital authorities behind lack of action against the hospital authorities functioning on their whims.
Surprisingly, as per the information secured from another department of NMC, a total of 678 hospitals, dispensary and clinics have been registered under municipal limit.
Scanning the RTI reply, it turned out that barring few small hospitals on Central Avenue road, several upscale hospitals are functioning without NOC.
Agrawal alleged that NMC has limited itself to correspondence in the concerned matter. “If civic authority would turn strict then entire health establishments in city would mend their ways and become fully fire proof. Those not regular at renewing their licenses should face closure of their facilities. But why would the officials act? They may not get ‘anything’ out of it,” Agrawal quipped.
He said strict rules regarding fire have made it difficult to get the NOC renewed, so the hospital owners have to do away with bribing from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh to the officials concerned. “However this has multiplied the risk of fire accidents getting uncontrolled in the absence of appropriate fire fighting equipments,” he said.
Another hurdle that comes the way of regular fire renewal is the fire department’s fixation with the favorite fire equipments dealer. “The hospitals which do not purchase their equipments from their registered dealers have to face the wrath of the department and they are made to run from pillar to post,” he alleged
Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha(rajeev.nagpurto