Karnataka Health Minister seeks re-probe into Chamarajanagar oxygen tragedy
Earlier report unsatisfactory; Those responsible not made accountable
BENGALURU: Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Friday requested the state government to conduct an inquiry again into the Chamarajanagar District Hospital tragedy where shortage of oxygen killed 36 people in 2021 during the peak of Covid. He told The New Indian Express that he has sought a re-investigation as the report submitted by the BJP government is not satisfactory.
“The earlier probe was not proper and the report did not hold good. The people who are liable have not been listed or made accountable. I have written to the government to constitute another committee in the DPAR (Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms) and requested a fresh investigation,” he said.
The previous government had delayed forming the committee and ordering a probe. It was passing the buck between the health and medical education departments, he said. Asking for a re-inquiry will cause further delay, he said, but quickly stated that justice will be done and the guilty will be punished.
He said time does not matter as it is a serious issue.
All those responsible in the case, irrespective of their position, should be punished, he added. In May 2021, lack of coordination between agencies and shortage of oxygen supply led to the death of 36 people at the Chamarajanagar District Hospital. Later, a preliminary report was prepared which confirmed the death of patients in the district hospital on the night of May 3, 2021 due to lack of oxygen.
It had noted that the hospital and the district administrations had failed to address the issue. It had also noted that the deputy commissioner of Chamarajanagar, who was also the chairman of the district management committee, had failed. As the investigation intensified, names of IAS and KAS officers too were listed as responsible for the deaths.
Almost a year later, the then state government gave compensation to 24 affected families, leaving out the rest. The government had also announced that government jobs will be given to the family members, but the promise had not been met, affected families said.