BHUBANESWAR: The arrest of SUM Hospital's principal promoter Manoj Ranjan Nayak after a fire in the hospital killed 23 people last week has turned contentious with private technical and professional
institutions in the state deciding to close their colleges for a day on Thursday as a mark of protest. Manoj Ranjan Nayak is an education entrepreneur apart from heading the trust that runs the hospital.
Objecting to the haste with which Nayak was arrested before conducting an inquiry into the incident, Binod Dash, the secretary of the Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA), accused the
Naveen Patnaik government of acting in a partisan manner.
Demanding the unconditional release of Manoj Nayak, Dash said the arrest would give wrong signals to investors who have been invited by the government to participate in a 'Make in Odisha' conclave
commencing from November 30.
The association said the regulatory authorities of the government like DMET, fire safety and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) should also be held responsible for the fire tragedy as they all failed in their responsibilities to ensure safety compliance in hospitals. Their officers should have been arrested too, Dash said while addressing a media conference here.
"If only four of the 540 clinical establishments and government hospitals in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have valid fire safety and occupancy certificates, action against only one
private hospital is unjust," Binod Dash pointed out.
"Why was no action taken against the authorities of SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack for the fire incident there in May and the death of children in Sishu Bhawan?" he asked.
The association believes that promoters of a hospital cannot be held responsible to look after all aspects of the institution they run. Qualified people have been appointed to look after various tasks, he said.