Oxygen shortage wasn't reported, guilty to face strict action, says UP govt

LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday said stringent action will be taken against those found guilty in the high number of death of infants in Gorakhpur's state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Gorakhpur district magistrate Rajeev Rautela had on Friday said at least 30 children had died in the Medical College within 48 hours. However, state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh had said according to reports from the paediatric department of the college, 60 children had died due to various diseases since August 7. "Whosoever is found guilty in the tragic and painful incident at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur will certainly face stringent action," deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya told reporters here on Saturday. According to the official Twitter account of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister (@CMOfficeUP), Yogi Adityanath has directed that a detailed probe be conducted into the incident and strict action be ensured.

Meanwhile, Singh and Medical Education minister Ashutosh Tandon left for Gorakhpur to take stock of the situation at the medical college. Before leaving for Gorakhpur, Singh said, "The Chief Minister was not informed by the doctors and officials about shortage of oxygen neither on July 9 nor on August 9. "The shortage of oxygen was not highlighted. The medical education minister was also not briefed about it. Appropriate action will be taken keeping these points in mind and a probe will be done," he said here. Tandon said, "The chief minister is keeping a close watch on the entire issue. We will take appropriate action after investigating all aspects."

Though the Gorakhpur district magistrate had not given any reason for the deaths, the Union home ministry had said according to the SP of Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen. "As per SP Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen in BRD Medical College, in last 36 hours. Senior officers are on the spot. Exact cause is being verified by civil administration," a home ministry spokesperson had said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari also demanded strict action against those responsible for the deaths, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in eastern Uttar Pradesh. "There are clearly two dimensions to it, that of criminal culpability of all those who are responsible -- the hospital administration, the oxygen supplier and the district administration which is supposed to exercise superintendence over the hospital, and the other is the moral responsibility of the chief minister. "While all those responsible must be charged with criminal culpability accounting to murder ... there is a moral dimension which the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and his health minister must take responsibility for and resign immediately," Tiwari said.