GUWAHATI, Sept 12 - A single-member bench of the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has registered a suo moto case on the death of 40 tuberculosis patients, who died at the TB Hospital in the last seven months due to alleged insufficient medication and unhygienic conditions there.
The case (No.AHRC 1792/9/16-17), registered by a single-member bench of Tarun Phookan, Member, AHRC, was based on a newspaper report.
The Commission also directed that an immediate interim relief of Rs 2 lakh each be paid to the kin of the deceased patients.
The Commission pulled up the State Government for the deplorable conditions plaguing the State’s only TB hospital.
In its order dated September 9, 2016, the Commission directed that notice be issued to the Chief Secretary of Assam to order an inquiry by a public officer not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of Assam, and to submit the report within 30 days of receipt of the notice.
“Pending inquiry, the bench deemed it fit and proper under the facts and circumstances of the case to recommend under Section 18(C) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, since amended in 2006, to the Government of Assam for granting monetary compensation at the rate of Rs 2 lakh being immediate interim relief to the members of the respective families of the deceased patients each, within a period of two months of receipt of the instant recommendation,” the AHRC order said.
It further recommended, in the interim, to the Government of Assam through the Chief Secretary to ensure that the TB Hospital is equipped, in no time, with the necessary manpower and essential supplies accordingly as reflected in the news report in question.
The news item reported that a number of workers of the hospital had been facing death due to the insecure and unsafe atmosphere of the hospital, which was not provided with the indispensable medical devices, including N-95 masks, gloves and protective appliances and equipments, for years together.
Further, it was reported that there has been no supply of necessary disinfectants like DDT and phenyl to the hospital, which has been running under-staffed for long owing to the vacancies in the essential posts of seven ward assistants, six sweepers, five watchmen, two cleaners and two washermen.