NEW YORK WEATHER

A fire mishap in the Bhandara district general hospital that killed 10 newborn babies in January 2021 prompted Maharashtra government to conduct a fire audit in primary health centres, district hospitals and rural hospitals across the state. But funds to set up fire-fighting systems are yet to be allocated to half the districts, a state official said.

One of the districts that hasn’t received the funds is Ahmednagar. On November 6, a short-circuit sparked a fire in an intensive care unit of the district’s civil hospital, killing 11 of 17 Covid-19 patients admitted there.

With this, Maharashtra has recorded at least nine episodes of hospital fires since August 2020, resulting in 54 deaths.

Information furnished by an official, who did not want to be identified, shows that an estimate of Rs 5.21 crore was drawn up on April 6 by Ahmednagar’s Public Works Department to install fire-fighting systems in all of its 96 primary health centres, 24 rural hospitals, two sub-district and one civil hospital. An additional budget of Rs 48.9 lakh was drawn up for electrical work in these hospitals.

But funds have neither been allocated by the District Planning and Development Council nor by the state’s public health department.

In Bhandara district, a month…

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