Gujarat High Court has suggested that the state government should ask hospitals to put up flex boards outside their buildings informing citizens about their fire safety status. This, after the government submitted that there were 2,204 Covid and non-Covid hospitals without the requisite no-objection certificate for fire safety. The court said that nobody would like to get admitted to a hospital without fire safety measures.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the court that as of February this year there were 2,654 hospitals without fire safety, but 450 hospitals have since been granted the NOC.
A bench comprising Justice B M Trivedi and Justice B D Karia was hearing an issue related to fire safety arrangements in the hospitals, schools and high-rise buildings across the state. When the government lawyer started giving information about it, the court asked, “Will anyone go to a hospital with no fire safety if a person knows there is no fire safety? Let hospitals put a board outside that there is no fire safety.”
The court also said, “Ask hospitals with no fire NOC to place flex boards stating they do not have fire safety. Then see how many patients get admitted there. Ask hospitals to put up a big banner saying they have a fire NOC till this period,” the court said. “When a building is being constructed, a board with details of the construction is put up outside, then why can’t fire NOC information be displayed outside all structures?” the bench asked.
A total of 36 people lost their lives in fire incidents at Covid hospitals in Ahmedabad, Bharuch and Rajkot. Around nine hospitals reported such incidents last month alone, but no casualties were reported. Meanwhile, Bharuch’s Patel Welfare Hospital’s administration submitted before the court that they were compelled to start the Covid hospital as the local authority had issued the requisition to start the Covid facility. On this the court asked the hospital’s lawyer, “And you started the hospital without fire NOC?” The court was of the view that the dedicated Covid facility was discontinued in January this year and the hospital authorities had four months to install the fire safety equipment. Yet, it was not done by them.