With West Bengal’s nod, the Dhakuria complex of the AMRI hospital here is looking to partially resume operations two years after a fire tragedy forced it to shut down. However, promoters of the hospital have decided not to rush the resumption through before all arrangements are in place.
Over 90 persons died after a fire broke out at the Dhakuria complex’s Annexe I. Most of the deceased were patients at the then super speciality hospital.
The Mamata Banerjee government, only a few months old then, cancelled the licence of all the three hospital blocks at the complex including the main building and Annexe II, even as it cracked down on the directors of EMAMI Ltd., the parent company. The State’s Health department is headed by the Chief Minister.
“On Monday, the group received the State Health department’s nod for reopening the main building and Annexe II. These two were unaffected by the fire. Permission has now been received for running the outpatients department and the diagnostic facilities,” a source at EMAMI said.
The government, while giving fire clearance and the hospital service licence to AMRI, stipulated that two additional fire escapes would have to be built from outside. On that fateful December night, most of the victims were trapped inside the hospital, which had sealed windows and poor fire-fighting capabilities and virtually no escape route.
The EMAMI Group which has interests in FMCG, real estate, and healthcare has said that it will not rush with the reopening, clearing all the internal formalities first.
Three units managed by the same group are now operational and expansion plans are also underway.
The fire was believed to have started from the basement, which stocked inflammable materials. It then spread through the air-conditioner duct. Altogether, 13 persons, including nine directors and four hospital employees, were arrested after the incident. All are out on bail now.