Almost two-and-a-half-years after the city’s AMRI Hospitals at Dhakuria was forced to shut shop following a devastating fire accident that killed 91 patients, the in-patient department of the hospital re-opened on Saturday.
While the outdoor unit and the diagnostic centre had reopened in 2013, the hospital had not got the necessary licences to reopen the in-patient department.
The renovated hospital is now equipped with 202 beds and new equipment. A 10-bed 24X7 emergency section has also been opened.
“The in-patient department took time to reopen as we were asked to build a fire-exit staircase. That took time and it was built at the cost of Rs. 3 crore,” CEO, AMRI Hospitals, Rupak Barua said. All the norms, as per the National Building Code, were adhered to, Mr. Barua said, adding that the clearance to reopen the in-door facility was obtained last month. A total of Rs. 30 crore was spent to renovate the hospital, said AMRI spokesperson Mahasweta Sen.
“Two patients were admitted today and one patient was even operated upon,” Ms. Sen said. The other patient was referred to AMRI’s Mukundapur unit, she said.
The hospital saw one of worst fire tragedies in a medical facility in December 2011. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised the harshest punishment for those responsible for the accident. Most of the patients choked to death as the entire building was engulfed in smoke.
A blame game soon started after the early morning fire. The newly-elected Trinamool Congress-led State government claimed that the hospital had got its clearance when the Communist Party of India (Marxist)- led Left Front government was in power.
A day after the accident, licenses of all the three hospital blocks at the complex were cancelled, including the main building and Annexe II. Board members of the hospital were arrested. However, the directors were granted bail in April 2013 and the Fire Department gave its clearance for the out-patient department in November 2013.
The outdoor unit and diagnostic facilities reopened a month later. A team of the board of directors met Ms. Banerjee at Secretariat, Nabanna, in June, soon after which the licence of the in-patient department was cleared.