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Licence for AMRI indoor facilities

AMRI, Dhakuria

AMRI Hospitals on Thursday got the health departmentís permission to reopen its indoor facilities at Dhakuria, the green signal coming days after S.K. Todiís dissociation from the hospital chain became public.

The health departmentís licence, issued under the Clinical Establishments Act, means AMRI Dhakuria can admit patients to its main unit along with Annexe II.

Officials said the licence was for 202 beds, 156 in the main building and 46 in Annexe II.

The Dhakuria unit had been forced shut after the fire in Annexe I on December 9, 2011, that claimed 91 lives. Annexe I is structurally not connected to the other two buildings. It will remain closed for now.

ďWe have issued a provisional licence to AMRI for the indoor facilities for one year,Ē Biswa Ranjan Satpathy, director of health services, said.

Officials at AMRI said they were planning to open the indoor unit soon. ďThe infrastructure is ready. Now all we need are the trade licence and a formal clearance from the pollution control board. We are planning to start indoor operations early July,Ē said Rupak Barua, chief operating officer of AMRI Hospitals.

The Dhakuria facility will have fewer beds than before.

On June 20, The Telegraph had highlighted the Emami Groupís plan to buy the S.K. Todi-owned Shrachi Groupís stake in AMRI Hospitals in a speculated attempt to delink the brand from a past when it was perceived to have been friendly with the CPM.

Sources said Shrachi wanted to sell its stake in AMRI because of losses suffered after the fire. The AMRI Group had run up losses of more than Rs 100 crore by way of paying salaries to employees of the Dhakuria unit during the period of closure and accounting for depreciation of assets.

The buyout process was initiated a few days ago and a consultant has been engaged to evaluate the assets and liabilities of Shrachi that holds over 32 per cent in the hospital chain.

The Emami Group has a 66 per cent stake while the state government holds 1.9 per cent.

On June 10, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had called R.S. Agarwal and R.S. Goenka, the co-owners of the Emami Group, and their sons Aditya Agarwal and Manish Goenka, to her office in Nabanna. A source said they discussed, among other things, clearances required for AMRI to reopen its indoor facilities in Dhakuria.

In just over a fortnight after the meeting, the hospital has received both the fire-safety and health licences.

The health licence for the outpatient department had been issued earlier.

The first sign of the Mamata government easing its stand on AMRI came after the board of directors was reconstituted in 2013. The reconstituted board does not have 12 of the 14 former directors.