Orissa HC issues directions for fire safety measures, CCTV coverage review in SCB Medical College Hospital
Cuttack: The long-awaited affidavit filed by the Odisha government regarding the issue of fire safety measures at SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCB MCH) in Cuttack failed to satisfy the Odisha High Court, as the latter was unhappy with the lack of information related to the functioning of the CCTV cameras and the absence of Fire department certificate. The court has been giving...
Cuttack: The long-awaited affidavit filed by the Odisha government regarding the issue of fire safety measures at SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCB MCH) in Cuttack failed to satisfy the Odisha High Court, as the latter was unhappy with the lack of information related to the functioning of the CCTV cameras and the absence of Fire department certificate.
The court has been giving the Odisha government multiple extensions to file an affidavit in response to a seven-year-old long Public Interest Litigation filed by Maitree Sansad, a city-based socio-cultural organisation, represented by Advocate Ajay Mohanty. The PIL filed on October 13, 2015, sought the intervention of the court to ensure proper fire safety arrangements at SCB MCH.
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The petition had alleged that the hospital with a capacity of 2500 beds is in a dangerous situation due to the lack of fire extinguishers and shortage of CCTV cameras among other fire safety measures. The petition further alleged that the hospital failed to implement the fire-resistant mechanisms directed by the special team of Orissa Fire Services after conducting the hospital's survey.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported about the final opportunity given by the bench comprising Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice M S Raman in November 2021 to the government to file their status report. The case had been consistently getting delayed due to the state government's failure to file a reply to the issues in the petition.
When the case was last heard on January 4, 2023, the court gave the state government time till January 16 to file an affidavit failing which it was asked to pay a fine amount of Rs 25000, as per an earlier media report in the Times of India. The court had observed, "Despite an adjournment granted on November 9, 2022, to enable the state to file the affidavit, it hasn't done so. Additional government advocate D K Mohanty undertook that the affidavit will be positively filed on or before January 16, failing which the government will have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000."
The affidavit filed by the government stated that 564 CCTV cameras have been installed on the campus, in addition to other fire safety measures. However, the court was reportedly dissatisfied with the affidavit since it failed to mention the current working conditions of the CCTV cameras, reports The New Indian Express.
Further, the court also pointed out that the Fire department have not certified the fire safety measures implemented in the hospital. Issuing certain directions, the court said, "A direction is issued that a technical team of experts will be constituted in respect of the cameras installed and give a status report on their functioning." It further said, "As regards to the fire safety arrangements, SCB MCH will approach the Fire department to inspect and certify their adequacy and appropriateness."
The court gave four weeks for the authorities to comply with the directions, and the next hearing of the case have been scheduled on March 21, 2023. Meanwhile, the authorities of SCB MCH have been asked to file another affidavit by the next date of hearing.
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