Licence in hand, hospital gears up for big reopening
By Shutapa Paul - KOLKATA
Published: 28th Oct 2012 11:31:13 AM
It’s not yet been a year since the catastrophic fire at AMRI Hospitals brutally choked to death 91 patients, on December 9, 2011. Justice seems a distant reality for the victims’ families. The super-speciality hospital, however, is fast gearing up to reopen its doors. The Sunday Standard has learnt that the posh hospital has been granted the all-important health licence by the West Bengal government.
“We have been told that the hospital will reopen shortly. The final date will be fixed and announced by the management. We have received the health licence which includes the fire clearance,” said Samir Ghosh, Manager, Corporate Relations, AMRI Hospitals.
The renovation of hospital building destroyed by the fire is nearing completion and the hospital is also revamping the premises to better handle the situation in case of accidents and emergencies. “We hope that it happens soon. It all depends on the government,” said Rahul Todi, Director, AMRI Hospitals to The Sunday Standard. While the news of the reopening gains credence as the year nears its end, there is speculation that the posh hospital run by the Emami-Shrachi consortium may be reopened with a change of name.
The first anniversary of the horrific incident is only a month away but the stark negligence displayed by the hospital management is yet to be punished. A 1,300-page chargesheet had been submitted that names 16 people, including 12 directors and four hospital staff, who were charged under various sections of the West Bengal Fire Services Act. All the nine arrested directors are out on bail, with S K Todi being the last director to be granted bail in April this year. R S Agarwal, R S Goenka, Manish Goenka, Prashant Goenka, Ravi Todi, Dr Mani Chhetri and Dr Pranab Dasgupta were given bail after their defence established that the directors were not involved in the daily functioning of the hospital. Three directors, Rahul Todi, Preeti Surekha and Aditya Agarwal, who had been absconding, were also granted anticipatory bail. Executive Director Dayanand Agarwal, Additional General Manager (Maintenance) Sanjib Pal, Vice-President (Administration) Preeta Banerjee and night administrative manager Sajid Hossain were also granted relief.
The trial, however, will take another four months to begin with investigators recording statements from over 400 people. The Justice Tapan Mukherjee Commission sought the statements from the victims’ families and other documents pertaining to the victims’ casualties only this September. The wait for the victims’ families still seems a long and arduous one.