JAIPUR: The huge number of infant deaths at JK Lon Hospital in Rajasthan's Kota has left the Ashok Gehlot-led state government red-faced - battling criticism from all quarters.
After missing in action for weeks, when the Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma finally visited the hospital on Friday, a special "green-carpet" was rolled out to welcome him and the hospital was spruced up with a fresh coat of paint on many walls as he arrived to take stock of the situation. However, despite the VIP presence, a baby girl lost her life bringing the total toll of infant deaths at JK Lon Hospital since December to 105.
Given the mounting public anger and politics over the issue, Sharma held a series of meetings at the hospital and promised corrective action to be fully in place by January 15. "We have sanctioned Rs 1 crore to immediately rectify the situation at this hospital. I have taken note of each and every shortcoming and I assure you that all steps necessary to change and improve this situation will be put in place by 15th January," the Health Minister asserted in an interaction with the media.
Meanwhile on Friday, the National Human Rights Commission has also piled on further pressure on the Gehlot government and issued a notice to the Rajasthan government over the death of more than 100 infants at the Kota hospital in in December.
The NHRC, in a statement, said it has issued a notice to the chief secretary, seeking a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The commission said that the notice was issued to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.
Also the massive number of deaths at the Kota hospital has ignited a major political slug-fest between the BJP and the Congress and a virtual ‘Twitter-War’ has also erupted over this issue.
After UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BSP Supremo Mayawati slammed the state government yesterday, on Friday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also did not lose the opportunity to attack it for its failure in protecting newborns in Kota during his pro-CAA rally held in Jodhpur. Amit Shah advised Gehlot to focus his energies on the infant deaths in Kota rather than opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act.
However, Gehlot was quick to counter Shah. While talking to media in Jodhpur, Gehlot asserted. "The BJP is fueling fire to this tragedy. We had formed a special team to tackle the Kota crisis as soon as it came to our notice."
He added, "During the five years of BJP rule in Rajasthan, the number of deaths in Kota hospital was always much higher than now and they never took any corrective steps. Lok Sabha speaker and Kota MP Om Birla knows exactly how the previous BJP regime never did anything to improve facilities at this hospital. It’s terrible that the BJP is playing politics over the death of innocent babies."