The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Child death inquiry report reaches Buddha

Calcutta, Sept 17: The report on the inquiry into the deaths of 14 children in 48 hours at the B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital was submitted to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today.

“I have received the report just now and the action taken report (ATR) will be finalised tomorrow,” Bhattacharjee said after health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra and health secretary Asim Barman submitted the report to him. “I can tell you this much that Surjya will brief you about it on Thursday,” added the chief minister before he left Writers’ Buildings this evening.

Bhattarchjee, however, refused to divulge the kind of action the government intends to take on the deaths, which took place since the morning of September 1, on the basis of the report. “Nobody will come to know the contents of the report since only I and Surjya are working on it,” he added.

Barman later said the ATR would fix the responsibility and role of doctors and nurses on duty at the hospital on the two days. “The ATR will include everything from fixing of responsibility to suggesting what kind of action should be taken against those found guilty,” he explained.

In the 30-page report, the probe team of health services director Prabhakar Chatterjee and medical education director C.R. Maity recommended that disciplinary action be initiated against hospital superintendent Anup Mondal and nearly half-a-dozen doctors and nurses on duty at the hospital when the children’s deaths took place, say health department sources.

Mondal has been indicted for going public on the lack of infrastructure in the media. The report also pointed out that Mondal had violated norms by allowing mediapersons into the hospital, to the disadvantage of other children undergoing treatment. The report also reveals that there was no dearth of oxygen as was reported to the media.

Both Chatterjee and Maity visited the hospital again this morning and interrogated some more patients and their relatives on the state of affairs there. There was tension in the hospital when a two-and-a-half-year-old child died during the day. The bereaved parents were reported to have approached the media to complain that the death was due to doctors’ negligence . However, the situation came under control when the two intervened.

Chatterjee later said the probe team would question the parents of three more children as they had failed to turn up yesterday despite a radio message sent to them earlier. “We will have to wind up the interrogation by tomorrow and that is why we have once again asked the police to get in touch with the parents of three children who had died on September 1,” he added.

Police officials of North 24 Parganas have already informed the health department that the family of two-year-old Subham Dutta was not found at the address in Belghoria given in the hospital records. It was protest against Shuvam’s death on September 2 morning by his family that had brought to the fore the deaths of 14 children at the hospital in two days.

Buddha security

The CPM high command will ask deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who also holds the home portfolio, to upgrade security arrangements for chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the light of the People’s War attacks on Left leaders and activists in the state.

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