New Delhi: Responding to the suspension of Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College Principal following the death of over 64 children here in a span of few days, senior Congress Party leader and former health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad branded the move as ‘eyewash’, and demanded that an all-party delegation should look into the matter.
“The administration was notified of the lack of oxygen. Local media reports also hinted at the possibility of a large tragedy in the hospital. It is shocking that nothing was done about it. Suspending the Principal after this and announcing an enquiry into the matter is just an eyewash. There should be an all-party probe into this; the matter should not be submerged at any cost,” said Azad, while addressing a press conference here.
“Chief Minister Adityanath had visited two days ago. How was he not aware of the shortcomings in the hospital? The doctors had informed the administration well on time and no action was taken. He must immediately apologise to the nation and kin of the deceased children,” he said.
Further, Azad urged the state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh to submit his resignation immediately.
The Congress leader also reiterated that the lack of liquid oxygen supply was the sole reason behind the incident, contrary to what was stated.
“This hospital received maximum funding during my tenure. I had undertaken 14 visits, while other senior officials took five visits each. After a thorough inspection, I can 100 per cent assure you that the lack of oxygen is the reason behind the death of these children,” said Azad, while conveying his condolences to the kin of the deceased.
Defending this stance, Uttar Pradesh Congress president Raj Babbar, while citing a letter written to the administration, said they were duly notified of a shortage of oxygen supply on August 1 itself.
“It is such an unfortunate situation that even after notifying the authorities, nothing was done to help the situation. This is the Chief Minister’s constituency, how can he not be aware of this, even when he visited the hospital just two days ago? He should apologise immediately and the health minister must resign,” Babbar told ANI.
Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not acknowledging the incident, Babbar said, “Our Prime Minister took no time to tweet about the fall of the mahagathbandhan in Bihar. He immediately congratulated Nitish Kumar, maybe because he saw the possibility of the BJP in power. It is really unfortunate that he has not said anything about this incident so far.”
As many as 30 lives have been lost in a span of two days due to alleged disruption in the supply of liquid oxygen in the hospital. A total of 63 deaths have occurred in the hospital in six days.
The shortage of oxygen allegedly led to encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, following which the children died.
According to data procurred from the BRD hospital, in past five days – from August 7 to August 11, a total of 60 deaths have occurred in the hospital.
The procurred data also shows the number of oxygen cylinders sent for refilling each day, showing a clear shortage of liquid oxygen in the hospital.