Friday, December 9, 2011
A Massive Human Tragedy in Kolkata! Who Is Responsible?
While the deaths of babies in Kolkata and West Bengal hospitals still haunt us another massive human tragedy happened early morning today. A big fire broke out reportedly around 1am in a seven-storied private hospital in Kolkata which so far killed 89 helpless patients. Casualties expected to rise as there were 160 patients in the hospital.
Desperate, grief-stricken and angry relatives had been crowding the AMRI hospital complex since morning asking questions on public safety and responsibilities. There were allegations that though the fire reportedly started at 1 am help came nearly three hours later and that the hospital staff ran away leaving the patients to their fate. First help came from the slum dwellers around the area, but no outsiders were allowed to come in to evacuate the crying and gesticulating patients.
Heart-breaking stories told by eye-witnesses and distraught family members. Helplessly trapped patients calling up their families, but their phones falling dead moments later. Help being so near, yet so far.
And what’s the state government doing? Hospital license cancelled, six board members arrested and compensation packages announce. A blame game also in full motion. The government supposedly warned the hospital about fire threats and asked it vacate by July this year. But what then? Maybe apathetic authorities took bribes and the matter was settled. A grass-root level political worker turned Chief Minister could speak volumes against Foreign Direct Investment, but could not dare fight the horrific civic conditions in her own city and state that she snatched from the long ruling Left government just months ago. How anyone dare counter the vested interests in this wonderful country!
Cause of fire still not known, but it started in the basement which was meant for car parking and was conveniently converted into a storehouse. Such abject violation of rules and regulations are routine everywhere in India. This creates the frightening reality of numerous death traps that the authorities know about, the citizens know about; but still nothing gets done. No action. Vested interests rule supreme in democratic India.
We condemn it. All right minded people should indeed do the same. Defeat the vested interests and all political parties that support them.
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