Fire safety and safe exigency manuals have been routinely flouted wholesale, not just in private institutions but even in government or state-controlled ones such as offices, hospitals and others. It may be recalled that at least 10 new born were killed in a ghastly fire at a hospital in Bhandara district in January this year. The outcry from all sections forced the government to sit up and take notice.
In a written reply to a question raised by BJP MLA Atul Bhatkalkar, Maharashtra state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said early March, that the public works department was preparing the estimate plan for fire safety for 170 hospitals, of which the plan for 74 is ready. Fire safety audits have been completed in 323 healthcare facilities affiliated to the Maharashtra government's public health department, the state Legislative Assembly was informed on Thursday, 4th March.
The process of making funds available through the district planning committees is in progress, he said. Bhatkalkar had asked about 506 hospitals not having fire-fighting equipment. To which, Tope in the written reply said fire safety audits of 323 healthcare facilities have been completed, and the fire brigade has been told to complete audits of all hospitals.