A day after a one-day-old baby was stolen in broad daylight at the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH), Madurai, the focus has once again shifted to the slack security at the premises.

Even as the police are on the lookout to trace the culprit who had stolen the a one-day-old infant from GRH on Saturday morning, concerns have been expressed that the southern districts’ premier hospital has become vulnerable to miscreants, baby lifters, and anti-social elements, due to lack of adequate safety to patients especially in maternity and paediatric wards.

Senior officials said on Sunday that managing the GRH is a daily miracle in view of the huge volume of patients who come for treatment from all southern districts and that the present surveillance system does not match the requirement.

The number of in-patients is around 2,200 per day and the out-patients on an average each day are around 9,000. There are 80 wards in the hospital. When the attenders and relatives of the patients are taken in to account, the number of people present in the GRH during morning and afternoon peak hours will be nearly 20,000 at any given point in time.

However, there are only 16 CCTV surveillance cameras functioning right now at various places in the hospital thereby exposing the inadequacy. Two cameras are not working and they remain to be repaired.

“We have information that our own employees including maternity assistants, nurses and mid-wives are playing mischief. In some cases, surveillance cameras are broken and wires are pulled off so that child lifting images do not get recorded. This is a worrying, but we have to step up surveillance as there are over 11,000 patients on the campus every day excluding other visitors,” a senior GRH official said on Sunday.

The Saturday’s incident has put the hospital management on their toes and they are finding ways to enhance safety in the wards.

According to hospital Dean N. Mohan, at least 55 surveillance cameras are urgently needed and they are being procured now to be installed at vantage points in consultation with senior police officials.

“By the end of this month, we will be getting 55 CCTVs and they will be installed in important places such as paediatric, postnatal, maternity, casualty and out-patient wards besides pharmacy. District Collector Anshul Mishra has instructed us to expedite the process,” the Dean said.

Since the safety of surveillance cameras itself has become a threat, the authorities are planning to have concealed wiring and are fixing them with the support of cast iron pipes so as to make them tamper-proof.

Meanwhile, the hospital authorities are continuing their internal enquiry as to how a stranger posed herself as a family friend of Meenatchi from Vadipatti taluk and escaped with her new born male child.

Police are examining the CCTV footage which has clearly captured the image of the woman who took away the infant at around 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.

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