Bhandara (Maharashtra): At least 10 newborns were suffocated to death when a major fire broke out in the neo natal ward of the Bhandara District Civil Hospital, early on Saturday, officials said here.
Taking a strong note of the shocking incident, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire.
The government announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh for kin of dead infants.
Expressing anguish over the tragedy, the Chief Minister also discussed the matter with Health Minister Rajesh Tope and district authorities and said stringent punishment must be given to those found responsible.
The fire was noticed around 2 a.m. in the Sick Newborn Care Unit of the Hospital, leading to a huge panic.
While 10 infants perished in the thick smoke, another 6 were rescued safely.
The cause of the fire is not clear and the Bhandara police are probing the matter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi offered condolences to the families of the babies.