Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: Centre seeks report from UP govt on deaths of children
New Delhi: In a damage control mode, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday told union health minister J. P. Nadda who sought a report from the state health department regarding deaths in Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, Gorakhpur, that all aspects of the incident are being examined.
The incident where alleged discontinuation of oxygen supply from a private firm because of non payment of dues has lead to as many as 33 deaths of children has been drawing flak from across the nation and opposition parties calling the event a “gross criminal negligence”. UP government has however so far not attributed the deaths to lack of oxygen supply.
UP medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon in a press conference said that a probe, led by the state chief secretary has been ordered. Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that stringent action would be taken against those found guilty. Clarifying the series of events Tandon said, “On 1 August , the dealer (oxygen supplier) had written a letter to the principal of the medical college demanding the payment of an outstanding amount. The letter was forwarded to the DGs (director general, medical education) office. On 5 August, the payment was made to the medical college and the amount was credited to its account on 7 August.”
“The dealer claimed that his dues were cleared only on 11 August. Why was there a delay in the payment, why was the supply of oxygen stopped—these aspects will be probed by a panel,” he said.
The state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh said that UP administration was ignorant of any such issue. “The chief minister was not informed by the doctors and officials about shortage of oxygen on 9 August when he visited the hospital. The shortage of oxygen was not highlighted. The medical education minister was also not briefed about it. Appropriate action will be taken keeping these points in mind,” Singh said.
Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela had said that at least 30 children died in the state-run medical college within 48 hours since 10 August. According to reports from the paediatric department of the college, 60 children died due to various diseases since 7 August, he had said. However, the magistrate did not give any reason for the deaths. An official spokesperson in home ministry in Delhi said that as per to the Gorakhpur superintendent of police (SP), 21 children died due to a shortage of oxygen supply.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur and is in touch with the central and state authorities,” the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) said on Saturday.
Opposition in centre has taken BJP-led UP government in hammer and tongs. Holding it responsible for deaths, the Congress party has demanded resignation of the UP CM. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited the hospital, along with party colleagues, expressed deep anguish over the deaths. “This incident took place due to the laxity on the part of the state government. We hold the state government responsible for it. The health minister and the health secretary must immediately tender resignation. The doctors should not be blamed for this,” Azad said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the chief minister and the health minister should resign taking “moral responsibility” for the deaths. “UP health minister only seeks votes in Lal Bahadur Shastri ji’s name—he doesnt follow Shastri jis high morals in politics... Shastri ji resigned taking moral responsibility for railway accident, @sidharthnsingh holds on to power even after death of infants(sic).”
Singh is grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri,” Tiwari tweeted.