An RTI query which may have averted AMRI blazeDecember 22nd, 2011 - 11:11 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) Had the West Bengal government bothered to reply to a query about the city’s AMRI Hospital under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the devastating fire which claimed 94 lives might have been averted, a doctor said Thursday.
“If the health department had been bothered by our query, they certainly would have visited the hospital or talked with its authorities for the information. This not only would have put in motion the government machinery but also woken up the hospital administration,” said Kunal Saha, president of People for Better Treatment (PBT), an organisation fighting medical negligence.
“Who knows, the hospital, afraid of government action, would have rectified the fire safety mechanism and the tragedy might have been averted,” he added.
Police and fire department investigation reports show the hospital had flouted several fire safety measures.
PBT treasurer Mihir Banerjee filed the RTI query Oct 31 regarding the registration and financial details of the AMRI Hospital.
After not receiving a reply, Banerjee again filed a query Dec 15, this time before the appellate authority. A reply is still awaited.
Saha, who earlier had sued and won a record Rs.1.73 crore compensation for his wife’s death due to medical negligence in 1998 against the hospital and several doctors, has approached the apex consumer forum seeking their imprisonment for the failure to pay the awarded amount.
“More than eight weeks have passed since the order of compensation (Oct 21) was passed but the respondents (which includes AMRI) have not paid a single penny till now. So Dec 19 we filed a suit at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asking for their imprisonment under the relevant law,” Saha said.
Seven of the hospital’s directors are under arrest and facing trial for various offences in connection with the Dec 9 tragedy. A look out notice has also been issued for three other directors.
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Tags: appellate authority, blaze, consumer disputes, consumer forum, financial details, fire department, fire safety, government action, government machinery, health department, hospital administration, imprisonment, investigation reports, medical negligence, national consumer disputes redressal commission, ncdrc, oct 31, relevant law, safety mechanism, west bengal government