At least 63 children died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, the parliamentary constituency of Uttar Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in the last five days, an official said Friday. The government however said that only seven had died.
The shortage of oxygen led to the encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, following which the children died.
On Friday, reports said that 30 children lost their lives in two days.
Three more children, including an 11-year-old suffering from Encephalitis, died on Saturday.
Gorakhpur DM Rajeev Rautela said that 17 children had died in the neo-natal ward, five in the ward meant of patients suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome and eight in the general ward.
Denying that the children had died due to lack of oxygen, he confirmed that there was shortage of liquid oxygen at the medical college and that due to non-payment of Rs 70 lakhs, the vendor supplying oxygen has stopped supply. However, he said the principal had told him that for emergency use, alternative arrangements have been made.
He further said that part payment of Rs 35 lakh has been made to the vendor and that he had been requested not to disrupt the oxygen supply.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday denied media reports that more than 30 children had died at the hospital due to lack of oxygen.
A statement issued by the state Information Department late evening categorically denied reports shown by “some TV channels as misleading”.
It however said that the District Magistrate was personally stationed at the medical college and keeping vigil on the situation emanating out of the death of seven patients on Friday due to “different medical reasons”.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister Siddarth Nath Singh told TV channels that “a lot of people come suffering from high fever and if they don’t get treatment, it may result in death”.
To a query if an inquiry will be ordered, he said: “Absolutely, we will do into the depth of these deaths.. we are going to check each and everything and then come with a final answer.. those who who found guilty and if we find any error on their part, they will be made accountable..”