Advertisement
Monday, Dec 06, 2021
Outlook.com
Cover Story

Consumer Rights | 'Our Constitution Provides Us Right To Life'

“All we want is a fair trial and if guilt is proven, the culprits punished. But why is there no deadline? Our Constitution provides us right to life and when that is snatched away, why is there no accountability?

Consumer Rights | 'Our Constitution Provides Us Right To Life'
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Consumer Rights | 'Our Constitution Provides Us Right To Life'
outlookindia.com
2018-09-14T10:36:09+05:30

December 9, 2011, 4:30 am. Paromita Guha Thakurta’s cellphone rang. On the other end was mother Mridula, calling her from a high-end hospital in Calcutta’s Dhakuria, where she was admitted. The 63-year-old told her daughter, then 38, that the hospital was on fire. “As we spoke I could hear screams of ‘help us, help us…fire!’ in the background,” Paromita tells Outlook, recalling that dawn of horror when a fire at the ‘super-specialty’ Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI) killed over 90 people, mostly patients, including her mother. The basement of the bui­lding was packed with inflammable material and a short circuit caused these to ignite, sending fumes through the AC ducts to floors above. The no objection certificate from the fire department had lapsed; No plans existed to evacuate patients; they were left to die.

The victims’ families have taken on AMRI, but it has been an exhausting legal battle which, says Paromita, “is tiring us out”. Initially, the state government was proactive—CM Mamata Banerjee ordered the arrest of the top management and the police filed a chargesheet after just 84 days. “But we cannot fathom what transpired to slow things down,” says Paromita, who heads the AMRI Fire Victims’ Families’ Association. “The key accused are out on bail and they have each hired a battery of legal experts. We cannot compete.” The families are apprehensive that since most of the 16 accused are powerful, they can influence the probe. After the initial trials in the sessions courts as well as consumer courts, the matter is currently before the Calcutta High Court.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Putin Sends Out A Strong Message By Coming For A In-Person Meeting With PM Modi

Putin Sends Out A Strong Message By Coming For A In-Person Meeting With PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi and Vladimir Putin have a clear vision of the India-Russia relations and are unlikely to be battered by ties with third countries (China-Russia or India-US).

Nagaland Ambush: Clamour Grows For Revocation Of AFSPA As Death Toll Touches 15

Nagaland Ambush: Clamour Grows For Revocation Of AFSPA As Death Toll Touches 15

Nagaland civilian killings are likely to derail the peace process at a time when New Delhi was fast-tracking talks with several political groups in the insurgency-hit region.

Analysis: Why Dravid's Stress On Injury, Mental Health Management Will Be A Masterstroke

Analysis: Why Dravid's Stress On Injury, Mental Health Management Will Be A Masterstroke

Indian cricket team's new head coach Rahul Dravid is happy that new players took their opportunities in the India vs New Zealand series that the hosts won 1-0 in Mumbai.

Liberation Of Bangladesh: India Observes 'Maitri Diwas' To Mark 50 Years Of Friendship

Liberation Of Bangladesh: India Observes 'Maitri Diwas' To Mark 50 Years Of Friendship

India and Bangladesh are jointly observing 'Maitri Diwas' to commemorate 50 years of the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 and India's role in the neighbouring nation's freedom struggle.

Advertisement