The state government has initiated two parallel inquiries into the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital fire that left at least two persons dead.

The first one has been initiated by the department of health & family welfare and the second by the CID. The health department has constituted a high level enquiry committee under the chairmanship of principal secretary, health and family welfare, RS Shukla, comprising the secretaries of PWD and fire and emergency services departments to look into the causes of the accident, suggest remedial measures so that such incidents do not happen again and to look into other incidental issues. The committee will also assess whether the fire safety measures that were suggested to all hospitals after the fire at the AMRI Hospital, Dhakuria, in 2011 are being followed or not.

Along with this, CID has been asked to initiate a preliminary inquiry wherein it will look into the possibility of sabotage with regard to the incident. If sabotage is established then CID will undertake a further inquiry. The state government has directed that both the reports to be submitted as soon as possible.

The government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. The assistance will be handed over to the families through the district magistrate on Monday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee monitored the rescue operation. The government will bear the expenses for treatment of those injured in the incident. Health adviser Chandrima Bhattacharya along with a team of senior health department officials left for Murshidabad while a team of doctors from Malda Medical College and Hospital too rushed to Murshidabad. The fire was brought under control quickly by the fire brigade and the local administration. Unfortunately, two persons, one female attendant and one female relative of a patient, died. Seven patients received minor injuries and are being treated. All other patients and health workers are safe, said an official at Nabanna. The home department official said that the two persons could have died of stampede but the cause of death of a child that is being reported by news channels is completely different. All children in the paediatric ward are safe. Services resumed in the hospital from 2 p.m. onwards today, said an official.

The CPI-M and Congress, meanwhile, alleged gross negligence on the part of the state health department. We demand an inquiry into the hospital fire, said CPI-M state secretariat member Sujon Chakraborty.

He said that the health minister should come out with a statement on the hospital fire and fix responsibility. ”We recall the AMRI hospital fire when the entire board of directors was accused of negligence for the huge loss of lives, he said. CLP leader Abdul Mannan said that the state should not shirk responsibility for the terrible incident. ”State government should have been more vigilant since there had been incidents of hospital fire in the state”, he said. He alleged that the health minister was busy in ”khunti pujo” or in organising fairs or other activities and found no time to take care of hospitals.