Kolkata: India’s largest fire catastrophe thus far at AMRI Hospital Annexe 1 building on Friday which killed at least 90 people has forced the West Bengal state government to spring into action.

In a bid to avert any such mishap in future, state fire services minister Javed Khan has constituted a five-member committee. The committee will review and ensure that fire-fighting arrangements are made in schools, hospitals and other organizations.

The committee led by D P Biswas Additional Director General, Fire Services includes DB Tarania, DG (Fire), Baren Sen (former Director, Fire), Anil Chakraborthy (IFS) and Dr Sudipta Sarkar.

After holding a meeting with several departmental heads at the Writers Building, Khan said, “The committee would review fire safety measures of hospitals, nursing homes, installations, high-rise buildings and hotels.”

"The committee will ascertain if there are loopholes and whether necessary licenses are being obtained from the fire services department," Khan said. Stringent action will be taken against violators of fire safety regulations, he added.

Referring to the gruesome incident, he said, “If the hospital authorities had adhered to the fire safety norms, the tragedy could have been averted. The hospital had completely shut its eyes to the fire safety norms. The offenders will surely be apprehended.”

Strict norms to grant license to hospitals

Taking lessons from the major fire tragedy in the state, the government has decided to follow strict rules while granting license to the hospitals.

Mamata Banerjee had cancelled the license of AMRI Hospitals and police slapped a criminal case based on a complaint by the fire department, resulting in the arrest of seven directors of the hospital.

Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh said, “The health department is probing into the mishap on its level. There is a provision of punishment for over ruling fire safety norms.”

When asked about re-issuing of license to AMRI Hospitals, Ghosh said, “The Hospitals authority will have to re-apply for getting back the license.”

He said, from before granting license to hospitals, its past record would be verified and only if it fulfills all the stipulated criteria, the hospital would be granted the license.

(JPN/ Bureau)