Bhopal Hospital Fire Tragedy: BMC's notices to hospitals and nursing homes more honoured in breach than in observance – Free Press Journal

Charred equipment and furniture after a fire broke out in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Government Kamla Nehru Hospital, in Bhopal, Tuesday. | PTI
BHOPAL: As many as 140 hospitals and nursing homes in the state capital are yet to respond to notices from Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) to comply with fare safety norms and get the no objection certificates from it, as per officials.
As per officials, whenever notices are served on the hospitals and nursing homes there is a tendency among the entities to overlook the same. The reason being the state doesn’t have a Fire Safety Act. In absence of the Act the civic body can’t penalise the violators. At best, it can make recommendations to the health department to cancel the licence of the violator hospitals.
A fire safety act may enable the civic body to sever water supply, power supply, seal the building or even seek license cancellation of the hospital.
BMC has served notices on 300 hospitals and nursing homes in a year, for procuring no objection certificates (NOC) but as many as 140 of the establishments have failed to comply.
In the wake of the fire incident in Kamla Nehru hospital, where at least six kids have reportedly died, the civic body served a notice on the management of the hospital for fire safety arrangements.
BMC began issuing notices to the high-rise buildings in the state capital, including the hospitals and nursing homes on November 10, 2020.
In a year, as many as 410 notices were served on these buildings including 300 hospitals and nursing homes.
BMC officials claim only 160 hospitals and nursing homes have so far applied for taking NOCs this year.
Any high-rise building including the ones that are expected to be crowded need fire safety arrangements.
NOCs are provided in three steps, provisional, temporary and renewal. To apply for provisional NOC, there should be fire safety arrangements based on 52 points.
Kamla Nehru hospital where at least six kids have reportedly died in fire in fire | -PTI
These points include fire hydrant, pipe-drones, smoke detector, fire alarm, hydrant room, signages, emergency number, emergency light, fire exit, assembly area, public address system, emergency back-up, trained staff and others.
However, most of the buildings lack these facilities to deal with inferno. It is reflected in non compliance of notices served on these establishments.
BMC additional commissioner KS Parihar said they began serving notices in November last year. He said they received responses from 160 hospitals and nursing homes in a year. “We are in the process of sending reminders to the remaining establishments,” said the officer.
Director, Gujarat state fire services KK Bishnoi, says that they had imposed national building code after introduction of the fire safety Act, in 2013. He said they severed water supply to those buildings which failed to comply with fire safety norms even after being served the notice. Later, they severe power supply and then seal the building, for non compliance of the notice, he said.
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