Forensic experts unable to collect samples from flooded basement

The toll in the tragedy at the AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria rose to 93 on Sunday with the death of two more patients who had been shifted to other hospitals in the city.

Octogenarian Neela Dasgupta, who had been moved to the Belle View Clinic, died of natural causes there. Babulal Bhattacharya, a constable of the State police had been moved to another unit of AMRI Hospitals in Salt Lake, but died there early in the day.

Forensic experts visited the premises of the hospital during the day. However, they were unable to collect the samples from the basement, which is believed to be the site where the fire broke out, as the place is still flooded with the water pumped in to bring the fire under control.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities are working on measures to pump out the water. The forensic experts are expected to return to the site on Monday.

Speaking at an event in the Technicians Studio in Tollygunge, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her grief at the loss of so many lives but said, “it does not end with condolences, we are ashamed.”

“We were not prepared for this, but even in such sorrow we must carry on our work as work is our religion,” she said.

The State government will felicitate the youth from the nearby areas who helped with the rescue operations.

Mourners gathered at the hospital in the evening and took out a silent candle-light march in the area sharing their grief with the families of the victims and expressing outrage over the manner in which the hospital authorities mishandled the crisis.

The tensions between the local residents and hospital authorities continued during the day. The locals are demanding a shutdown in the operations of the entire hospital, not only those in the affected wing.

While the licence of the hospital has been revoked, staff continue to provide medical services to patients from the main building adjacent to the fire-ravaged wing.

Troubled by uncertainty, the relatives wonder whether they should move them to other hospitals in the city or continue with their treatment in the same facility.