Today: Jun 20, 2024

Expired licence, no NOC from fire dept – shocking irregularities at hospital where 7 newborns die in blaze

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New Delhi:  The private neonatal hospital in east Delhi where seven newborns died and five were injured in a blaze was operating despite the expiry of its license. It also did not have qualified doctors and no clearance from the fire department, police said on Sunday.

“The licence issued to the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital by Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Government of Delhi, has already expired on March 31.

“Even the expired licence issued to the said hospital allowed for five beds only,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary said.

The officer said 12 newborns were admitted at the hospital at the time of the incident.

“During the investigation, we found out that the doctors are not qualified/ competent to treat the newborn children in need of neonatal intensive care, as they are BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree holders only,” said the DCP.

The police said that there was no fire extinguisher installed in the hospital for any emergency and no emergency exit.

Meanwhile, officials of the Fire Department said that the hospital did not have a fire clearance.

“The building has no fire NOC. Rest we will also check documents related to the NOC on Monday,” an official of the DFS said, requesting anonymity.

The police have arrested the owner of the hospital, Dr Naveen Kichi, who had been on the run since the fire incident late on Saturday, officials said.

The Delhi government has also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the fire tragedy.

After the incident, District Magistrate (DM), Shahdara, Ritisha Gupta who reached the GTB Hospital faced the anger of grieving family members who shouted ‘hume insaaf chahiye’ (we need justice).

“Every single official who is visiting here is tight-lipped. They have no answer if the hospital was legal, if the hospital had any NOC from the fire department,” said Ritik, who lost his 10-day-old child.

A resident, Mukesh Bansal, claimed that an “unauthorised” oxygen refilling cylinder work was being carried out in the building.

“We had complained about it to the local councillor as well. But nothing was done. It was all happening under the nose of the police,” Bansal alleged.

Bansal also said that he used to live next to the hospital but due to the ‘illegal’ work of refilling cylinders, he shifted to the next lane.

The police said they are investigating the claim.

According to a report submitted by the District Magistrate (Shahdara) to the Delhi Divisional Commissioner, there were 12 babies admitted at the hospital at the time of the incident.

While one died on the spot, 11 were shifted to a hospital in the vicinity where six were declared dead on arrival.

The deceased children included four boys and three girls. All were 15 days old except one boy aged 25 days.

Officials of the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said the blaze broke out at the Baby Care New Born Hospital at around 11:30 pm on Saturday and soon spread to two other adjacent buildings.

Sixteen fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the blaze, Divisional Fire Officer Rajendra Atwal said.

Oxygen cylinders kept in the two-storey building exploded due to which the adjacent buildings were damaged, he said.

The police said during the course of the investigation it was also found that the hospital has three more such branches in Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh and Haryana’s Faridabad and Gurugram.