Bhandara fire: Hospital barricaded; BJP leader alleges laxity

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Bhandara, Jan 9 (PTI) The Bhandara district hospital in Maharashtra where ten infants died early Saturday after a fire incident has been witnessing a heavy stream of visitors, mostly politicians, since this morning.

Local administration has put barricades on the access road to the hospital, to keep the media at bay.

With the hospital authorities remaining tight-lipped, the politicians, including current and former ministers, who are allowed inside the hospital building, remain the only link for reporters to gain some information on happenings.

Even parents of the deceased infants are said to be inside the hospital building. There is no word on what would be the future course of action.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, former Maharashtra energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule of the BJP claimed relatives of the deceased infants had brought fluctuations in power happening since last seven days at the affected ward, to the notice of authorities in the hospital, but no action was taken.

The scale and nature of the tragedy has left citizens of Bhandara, a city in east Maharashtra, shaken, with condolences pouring in from various sections of the society.

'I spoke with relatives of the deceased infants. They told me that power fluctuations had been happening in the hospital ward since the last seven days. The relatives had asked the hospital staff to check electric switches etc, but apparently no action was taken,' Bawankule told PTI.

He further alleged a proposal to purchase fire safety equipment worth over Rs 1 crore at the hospital had been sent to principal secretary, health, and Director of Health, state government, in May this year but it is still pending for approval.

Bawankule alleged the hospital didn't have proper fire safety and electrical equipment in place, and demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident. PTI CLS NSK NSK