Patiala hospital fire: Minister’s resignation refused, staff reinstated


Chandigarh : Embarrassed by its handling of the fire in the photo-therapy ward of a leading government hospital which left six infants dead last week, the Punjab government Thursday ordered the reinstatement of all staff, including doctors, who were suspended following the tragedy.

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Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has already turned down the resignation sent by Medical Education and Research Minister Tikshan Sud who resigned owning moral responsibility for the incident.

Five infants, just three to six days old, had perished in the fire that broke out Saturday in the photo-therapy ward of the paediatric section of the government-run Rajindra Medical College and Hospital.

The sixth infant, who was rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in a serious condition, also died Wednesday.

Sud’s official car was stopped by protesting doctors and staff of the hospital Sunday after he visited the hospital. They shouted slogans against him and the state government.

The state government Thursday reinstated the medical college and hospital’s director-principal Jaswinder Kaur Shergill, another lady doctor and two other staff members who were suspended following the fire incident. Shergill, however, will not be allowed to assume charge as principal of the college and hospital.

The judicial probe, ordered by the state government, into the incident started Thursday with retired high court judge K.C. Sharma visiting the spot.

A state government spokesman said that the reinstatement of the staff is without prejudice to the judicial probe.