3 Andhra hospital officials held over fire in Covid centre

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Vijayawada, Aug 10 (IANS) A day after a fire in a Covid facility being run in a hotel here left 10 people dead, the Andhra Pradesh Police on Monday arrested three officials of a private hospital, including its chief operating officer.

The accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They were allegedly found neglecting the pertinent needs of electrical repairs which could have been instrumental in averting the accident.

The arrested include Dr Kodali Raja Gopala Rao, Chief Operating Officer of Ramesh Hospitals Ltd who had secured permission from authorities for running Covid facility in Hotel Swarna Palace.

Dr Kurapati Sudarshan, General Manager and in charge of the Swarna Palace paid COVID care centre and Pallabothu Venkatesh, night manager of Swarna Palace were also arrested.

While investigating the accident and all relevant angles concerning it, the tehsildar, Vijayawada Central, unearthed some major lapses on part of the hospital management.

In his police complaint, the revenue official stated that Hotel Swarna Palace and Ramesh Hospitals had knowledge of electrical defects in the hotel, and since rectification of defects involved huge amounts, they avoided the repairs.

The complaint said the incident occurred because of the hotel and hospital management not taking the necessary precautions and preventive measures.

Based on this complaint, the police filed a case against the management of Swarna Hotel and Ramesh Hospitals under the relevant sections of thee Indian Penal Code.

Officials said the permission to convert the private hotel into a Covid facility was accorded to Ramesh Hospital, based on the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in April. “The letter according permission to the private hospital to make this facility at Swarna Hotel operational, clearly states that the management has agreed to follow all the Government guidelines issued concerning the same.”

A committee led by Joint Collector, L. Siva Shankar has been tasked with the responsibility of executing an administrative enquiry into the accident to determine whether the accident or the damage caused by the same could been averted if the authorities had been more diligent. The committee has been asked to submit a report within 48 hours.

Two more committees have also been constituted to probe the incident. While the Health Department panel comprises the CEO, Arogyasri and the Director, Medical Education, the Home Department has also set up a separate committee to study the fires.

–IANS
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