At least 63 children have died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, the parliamentary constituency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in the last five days. According to reports, the probable causes of deaths are shortage of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward and encephalitis.
UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh and Minister for Technical & Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon will visit the hospital after meeting the CM on Saturday.
Singh, while addressing the media, said a “proper investigation is to be done and quick action would be taken. It’s a serious issue”. He urged the Opposition parties to not politicise the unfortunate deaths.
The CM has directed the ministers to conduct a thorough probe into the matter and ensure strict action.
Gorakhpur DM Rajeev Rautela on Friday confirmed the “death of 30 kids in the last two days” and “seven deaths in the last 24 hours.”
He said that 17 children had died in the neo-natal ward, five in the ward meant for patients suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome and eight in the general ward.
Congress Delegation Reaches Gorakhpur
A Congress delegation, comprising of senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar, reached the BRD Medical College on Saturday to enquire about the incident.
“What happened was due to lapse on the UP government’s part,” said Congress leader RPN Singh.
UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya lashed out at the Opposition saying they are giving statements in “haste”.
UP government is committed to service of people...Strict action will be taken.Keshav Prasad Maurya
This Is a Massacre: Kailash Satyarthi
Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi expressed his outrage at the deaths saying, “This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre”.
He also appealed to CM Adityanath to intervene and correct “decades of corrupt medical system of UP”.
DM Denies Kids Died Due to Lack of Oxygen
Denying that the children had died due to lack of oxygen, he confirmed that there was a shortage of liquid oxygen at the medical college and that due to non-payment of Rs 70 lakh, the vendor supplying oxygen had stopped the supply.
However, he said the principal had told him that for emergency use, alternative arrangements had been made.
He added that part payment of Rs 35 lakh had been made to the vendor and that he had been requested not to disrupt the oxygen supply.
ANI accessed a letter sent by the department handling oxygen supply to authorities on 3 and 10 August to inform them of the shortage of oxygen cylinders due to pending payment.
Deaths Due to Lack of Oxygen Misleading: UP Govt
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday denied media reports that more than 30 children had died at the hospital due to lack of oxygen.
A statement issued by the state Information Department termed reports shown by “some TV channels as misleading” and that the District Magistrate was personally stationed at the medical college to keep a vigil on the situation emanating out of the death of seven patients on Friday due to “different medical reasons”.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday night ordered a magisterial probe.
State Health Minister Siddarth Nath Singh told TV channels that “a lot of people come suffering from high fever and if they don’t get treated, it may result in death”.
Hospital Explains Oxygen Debacle
The hospital through a press release explained that it managed with 52 oxygen cylinders on Thursday afternoon when they realised that most of their machines were operating on low pressure.
Following the death of 30 children due to “various” reasons, the hospital said that it is expecting 100 oxygen cylinders to be delivered by 11 pm on Friday.
Sonia, Rahul Gandhi Express Shock
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed deep shock over the death of the 30 children.
The Congress President said she was pained beyond words by the humongous tragedy and that her heart went out to the families of the innocent children who “fell prey to gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on part of the authorities”.
Rahul Gandhi said the “BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government was responsible for the tragedy.”
Akhilesh Yadav Hits Out at UP Govt
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the state government by holding them responsible for the deaths of 30 children in Gorakhpur. He pointed out that strict action must be taken against the government.
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