Express News Service
LUCKNOW: After 30 people, including 22 children, died allegedly due to lack of oxygen supply in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College, the Uttar Pradesh government today continued to deny that the deaths occurred due to the paucity of oxygen supply.
The state government, in an official statement, rubbished reports that unavailability of oxygen caused the deaths.
Two ministers from the Adityanth government – Siddharth Nath Singh (Health) and Ashutosh Tandon (Medical Education) reached the medical college today to take stock of the situation.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the Yogi Adityanath government of covering up the facts. Scores of Samajwadi Party workers demonstrated in front of the medical college today.
However, before leaving for Gorakhpur, state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh today reiterated that no child died due to a shortage of oxygen. "The probe is on and those responsible for laxity, if any, will not be spared," he added.
When asked if any action is being contemplated on M/s Pushpa Sales Company, the supplier of oxygen, Singh said a magisterial probe was on, and a report was expected by the evening.
“On the basis of the probe report, appropriate action will be taken,” he maintained.
However, local sources said the legal action was on the cards against the firm accused of breaking the oxygen supply abruptly.
The minister presented a breakup of all casualties since 7 August. He pointed out that 60 children died during the period due to various illnesses.
Singh asserted that the deaths were not due to a paucity of oxygen.
Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela has also given a breakup of the casualties. He said 17 children died in the neo-natal ward, 5 in AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward and 8 in the general ward.
He added that seven deaths (neo-natal ward 3, AES ward 2 and general ward 2) were reported since last midnight, while the remaining 23 deaths (neo-natal 14, AES 3 and general 6) were reported since the midnight of August 9-10. Rautela, who has been camping in the medical college since Friday night, said he found out from doctors that no deaths occurred due to lack of oxygen.
However, the Union home ministry is said to have confirmed that 22 children died due to a shortage of liquid oxygen supply.
The district magistrate said that alternative arrangements have been made to ensure the availability of liquid oxygen in the hospital.