UP ministers take stock of Gorakhpur hospital tragedy

UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh addressing the press

UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh addressing the press

Government sources said he failed to take prompt action even though those in charge of oxygen supply wrote a letter on Thursday, warning about the impending crisis. Raids have been conducted at the Lucknow-based firm, which stopped supply of oxygen to the hospital as previous bills were not paid.

Adityanath had said Saturday said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered and a committee has been formed to look into the Gorakhpur tragedy. He urged the Opposition parties to not politicise the tragic deaths.

UP Congress President Raj Babbar termed the incident unfortunate and sought action by CM Yogi Adity-anath, while Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav sought a compensation of Rs20 lakh each to the kin of the dead.

Dr R K Mishra, principal of the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, for delaying payment to the oxygen supplier, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced his suspension.

UP Health Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh, however, said the oxygen supply went down on August 10, but the situation was brought under control within a few hours. District mangistrate confirmed that during point of time their was lack of oxygen shortage, but denied the cause of deaths due to it as alternate arrangements were made.

According to officials, 17 children died in the neo-natal ward, 5 in AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward and 8 died in the general ward.

Yogi Adityanath had visited Gorakhpur, his Lok Sabha constituency, on August 9 as well, but his government said the principal and doctors of the Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital did not raise the issue of shortage of oxygen cylinders. He said a probe, led by the chief secretary, had also been ordered.

Adityanath represented the ruling BJP during the Uttar Pradesh state polls earlier this year, and helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi consolidate power as he bids for re-election in a national ballot in 2019.

He added that the deaths "could be (due to) natural (causes), as many patients admitted at the hospital are serious".

The Health Minister also presented a data mentioning about the deaths which had occurred in the month of August in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Who so ever is found guilty will not be spared, so that no such incident happens in future.

30 children, mostly new born, had died allegedly owing to shortage of oxygen at the hospital in a period of 36-hours between Thursday and Friday.

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