At least 30 child deaths in 48 hours were reported in BRD medical college, the largest government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district, as a private firm contracted to supply oxygen cylinders allegedly withdrew over non-payment of outstanding dues to the tune of Rs 60 lakh.
"Total 30 deaths in last 48 hours. Supply of liquid oxygen was disrupted yesterday day due to pending payment. Requested suppliers not to disrupt supply,” said District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela.
He further said 17 children died in the neo-natal ward, 5 in AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward and 8 in the general ward.
However, the hospital's Chief Medical Superintendent RS Shukla rejected reports that the kids died due to insufficient oxygen supply. The state government has also rubbished reports about non-availability of oxygen at the hospital.
State health minister Siddharthnath Singh also dismissed reports that an oxygen shortage killed the children.
"What media has reported it does not appear same to us. A final picture will be clear after a report on it comes,” he said on Friday.
An inquiry committee has been set up to ascertain the exact causes of the deaths and it has been asked to submit its report by tomorrow evening.
The hospital is in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency and he took stock of arrangements at encephalitis wards during his recent two-day visit to Gorakhpur.
Ever since taking charge as the CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has been stressing on improving the condition of medical and education sectors. However, the latest incident has raised serious questions over the lackadaisical approach of his government.