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Gorakhpur tragedy: CM orders probe, suspends Medical College principal
Uttar Pradesh government ordered a probe into the tragic death of over 60 children at Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur allegedly over short supply of oxygen and suspended the principal for his “irresponsible act of delaying payments to the gas supplier”.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the death of children in Gorakhpur was a serious matter. “The matter is being probed and the guilty will be brought to justice. The government will not accept any excuse and action will be taken against the guilty to prevent recurrence of such incidents,” Yogi said in Allahabad on Saturday.
Health Minister Sidharthnath Singh and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon rushed to Gorakhpur and visited the BRD Medical College and also the kin of the deceased on Friday.
The UP government, however, reiterated its stand that the children had not died due to disruption of oxygen supply.
Health Minister Sidharthnath Singh said that the cause of death was not the shortage of oxygen.
“Information about low-pressure situation in liquid oxygen supply was received on August 10 at 7:30 pm and gas cylinders were immediately pressed into service. This continued till 11:30 pm.. There was then a shortage of cylinder for two hours which was restored at 1.30 am soon after by another batch of gas cylinders,” the Health Minister said.
“As per records, 17-18 deaths a month is reported due to Encephalitis. Preliminary inquiry established that the cause of death was not disruption of oxygen in all cases; some died due to infection, some others due to neo-natal conditions and one child died due to liver failure,” Singh stressed.
He went on to cite figures of previous years saying that child deaths in August were higher due to Encephalitis.
“In August 2014, 567 children died and in August 2015, 668 kids died,” the minister claimed.
“In 2014, the medical college had an average of 19 deaths per day, in 2015 it was 22 deaths per day and in 2016 it was 19 deaths per day as critical patients come to the hospital from UP, Bihar and even Nepal.” he said
Singh said, “The matter of delay in payment to the gas supplier was not placed before the Chief Minister, who had visited BRD Medical College on August 9. Neither did anyone inform him about shortage of oxygen there.”
“An inquiry led by the Chief Secretary has been ordered and BRD Medical College principal Rajiv Kumar Mishra has been suspended for negligence. The medical college authorities delayed payment to the gas supplier and a probe has been ordered to find out the reason,” Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon said in Gorakhpur on Saturday.
The minister claimed that required funds for payment to the oxygen supplier were released by Director-General of Medical Education on August 5, credited in the account of principal of BRD Medical College on August 7 and the arrears was paid to the oxygen supplier on August 11.
“Why was there a delay in payment to the oxygen supplier and why did the supplier disrupt supply off gas will be the subject matter of the inquiry,” he said.
Soon after being suspended, BRD Medical College principal Dr RK Mishra said, “I had tendered my resignation from the government job prior to the minister’s announcement.”
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party workers staged a protest at BRD Medical College and burnt the effigies of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Another group of SP workers burnt the effigies of the CM at Gorakhpur University and Golghar area.
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