After hospital fire, CM shows PWD the door

An air-conditioning machine caught fire in the emergency department in state-run R G Kar Hospital on Friday. The fire broke out on the third floor, where the Pathology Department is housed. Two fire tenders was brought the fire under control in half-an-hour.

The patients at the hospital alleged the main gate of the eight-storied emergency wing of was closed and they had to force their way outside the hospital. Authorities at the hospital, however, denied reports that patients were not allowed to come out of the building. They did say that relatives of patients were not allowed inside the building as they could not ascertain the nature of the fire.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed that the state Health Department will maintain hospitals now. "I am upset with the incident. The Health Department has more responsibility in such cases. So, from today onwards, the hospitals will be maintained by the Health Department," she said.

The PWD is in charge of maintenance of equipment in state-run hospitals. This is the first instance where maintenance of a hospital building has been handed over to the Health Department.

"The equipment need to be maintained regularly. There was no proper maintenance of equipment. Prompt action will be taken against the authorities responsible for it," Mamata said.

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