NEW DELHI: The Congress today said the criminal negligence of BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand had led to the deaths of hundreds of children and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take decisive action in the matter besides coming out with a statement on the issue.
"Will the prime minister and the health ministry wake up from their slumber," Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala asked.
The question was whether they would take "decisive action" against the governments and health ministers of UP and Jharkhand, he said.
The Congress also urged the prime minister to issue a statement on the deaths and asked if he would now take action against the Union health minister and his ministry "who have been criminally complicit in ignoring this entire episode".
Surjewala told reporters here that "hundreds of children" had died in BJP-ruled states.
The Congres leader alleged that the criminal negligence of the BJP governments had "completely decimated" the health structure in the country. The deaths of children and others "exposed their lacklustre attitude and criminal neglect", he said.
The latest example, Surjewala pointed out, was the death of 49 children in Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh.
"This comes after the Gorakhpur deaths reached 357," he claimed, adding that in the last 24 hours, 13 more children had died in UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath's citadel.
"Yogi has turned Uttar Pradesh into a 'rogi' (ailing) state," he said.
But such incidents were not restricted to UP, he added.
Surjewala said in Banswara, Rajasthan, 86 children had died in the last 53 days. A total of 236 children had died in Banswara this year, he claimed.
In Ranchi in BJP-ruled Jharkhand, 133 children had died in the last 28 days, and 164 children in Jamshedpur.
A total of 800 children had died so far, he said.
"Who is responsible for this utter negligence and criminal neglect of the health of our children? In Farrukhabad, children are stated to have died again on account of lack of oxygen and medication," he said.
Surjewala said children were dying of Swine flu/H1N1, which had turned into an epidemic as 1,260 people had lost their lives to this till August 2017. In 2016, 265 people died of swine flu, he said.
He also said swine flu had taken 329 lives in Gujarat, 467 in Maharashtra, 80 in Rajasthan and 53 in UP.
If decisive steps were not taken, the epidemic would take the lives of thousands more, he said.
Officials in UP said today 49 infants died in a month in the Farrukhabad district hospital. Most of the deaths were caused by "perinatal asphyxia", a condition in which a child has trouble breathing.
In a virtual replay of the tragedy in Gorakhpur, where 30 children died in two days in a state-run hospital last month, parents of many of the children in Farrukhabad said there was a delay in providing the patients with oxygen and medicines.
The UP government today transferred Farrukhabad district magistrate Ravindra Kumar, chief medical officer Umakant Pandey and chief medical superintendent Akhilesh Agarwal.