SUM fire tragedy: Action comes late, four arrested


Bhubaneswar: Four employees of SUM Hospital were arrested on Tuesday evening, almost 24 hours after the fire mishap on Monday that killed 21 people so far as per government sources. Medical superintendent Pushparaj Samantasinghar who is among the arrested has been admitted to ICU citing health issues.

After criticism from all quarters regarding delay in action, the state government took visible steps in form of FIRs first by fire services department and later by DMET, health department at the Khandagiri Police Station, about 20 hours after the tragedy. It took a few more hours for police to arrest the four employees namely electrical maintenance executive engineer Amulya Kumar Sahu and retired junior engineer Malay Kumar Sahu and fire safety officer Santosh Das. Among the various charges of murder and culpable homicide, they have been charged with laxity in fire safety, said YB Khurania, police commissioner who informed the arrests have been based on Fire Safety department’s FIR.

Soon after the arrest the medical superintendent was reported having health issues and is being treated in the cardiology ICU at SCB Medical.

Meanwhile, the gutted units of the SUM Hospital have been sealed for the probe regarding the fire incident.

Pressure is also mounting on the state government to take action against government authorities that did not take action despite knowledge of the hospital functioning without a fire clearance and also against higher authorities of the hospital.

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