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India: seven babies died in fire due to lacked license and fire exits

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India: seven babies died in fire due to lacked license and fire exits

India: seven babies died in fire due to lacked license and fire exits

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  • A fire in a Delhi hospital killed seven babies, resulting in the arrest of the hospital owner and the doctor on duty.
  • The hospital’s No Objection Certificate expired on 31 March, indicating it was operating without a valid license.
  • The hospital had only been permitted five beds but had installed 10.
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Police reported that a hospital in Delhi, where a fire killed seven babies, was operating without a valid license. The fire occurred on Saturday, resulting in the arrests of the hospital owner and the doctor on duty. Investigators found that the hospital lacked fire extinguishers and an emergency exit. The tragedy happened just hours after a fire broke out in a gaming arcade in Rajkot, Gujarat state, killing 27 people.

In India, lax enforcement of safety norms often leads to fires breaking out in residential and commercial buildings. Saturday’s tragedy, where a blaze engulfed the hospital in Delhi’s Vivek Vihar neighborhood, has horrified and angered people.

Police commissioner Shahdara Surendra Chaudhary informed ANI news agency that the hospital’s No Objection Certificate (NOC) had expired on 31 March. A fire NOC, which certifies that a building meets fire safety standards, is required for hospital buildings with a height exceeding 15m (49ft).

Mr. Chaudhary added that the hospital had only been permitted five beds but had installed 10. At the time of the fire, 12 newborn babies were at the hospital. Five of them are now being treated at another hospital. Police have arrested Dr. Naveen Kichi, director of the hospital, and a doctor named Akash (the police shared only one name) in connection with the fire. They have been charged with culpable homicide.

Police stated that Dr. Akash, who was on duty at the time of the incident, was not qualified to treat newborn babies in need of intensive care. The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial inquiry.

Dramatic visuals of the fire engulfing the building on Saturday circulated on social media. Atul Garg, the director of Delhi’s fire department, informed the Press Trust of India news agency that the fire had spread due to a blast in an oxygen cylinder. Media reports indicate that the police are also investigating the possibility of the hospital running an illegal oxygen cylinder filling racket after locals reported suspicious activities.

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Officials also stated that rescue efforts were slowed by limited access to the building, which has a single staircase and no fire escape. Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed that the tragedy was “heartbreaking.”

“The causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared,” Mr Kejriwal said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as “heart-rending.” He announced an ex-gratia of 200,000 rupees ($2407; £1889) to the family members of each of the deceased and 50,000 rupees each to those injured.

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