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. Infections and possible disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward are being blamed for the death, but the hospital and district administration have dismissed the inadequate oxygen supply as the reason for the tragedy. The issue of settlement of the pending money is what costed the lives of little ones. The cause for the same is believed to the delay caused by the college authorities towards the payment for oxygen vendors.
UP CM Yogi has said that he is personally monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur, his own constituency, and has also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident.
Allegedly 63 children died in Gorakhpur's state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College cum Hospital in Uttar Pradesh. "Those responsible will not be spared", said State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh who has been directed by Adityanath to look into the matter.
Two more deaths were recorded in the hospital on Saturday morning.More news: Scaramucci says Trump 'needed to be much harsher' on white supremacists
The region is one the poorest in India and records hundreds of deaths of children due to diseases, including encephalitis, every year.
Rajeev Rautela, Gorakhpur District Magistrate denies that the incident was caused due to lack of oxygen supply. He also said that the role of the oxygen supply firm will also be examined. "If the hospital had no funds for months, how did they make a payment of Rs 20 lakh suddenly?"
State Health Minister Sidharthnath Singh claimed that during the past three years the death of children due to encephilites in August was between 19 to 22 per day but this year it was just around 10 per day in the first 12 days of August.
There was panic at the hospital with relatives trying to support staff using manual breathing bags, local media say. And "only" seven children have died today.
According to data procured from the BRD hospital, from August 7 to August 11, a total of 60 deaths have occurred in the hospital. 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.