PM Modi constantly monitoring situation in Gorakhpur: PMO

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NEW DELHI/GORAKHPUR, Aug 12 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh where at least 30 children died in a hospital and is in touch with central and state authorities, the PMO said on Saturday.

Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel and the Union health secretary will take stock of the situation in Gorakhpur, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

District Magistrate of Gorakhpur Rajeev Rautela had said on Friday that at least 30 children died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College within 48 hours since August 10.

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had said that according to reports from the paediatric department of the college, 60 children died due to various diseases since August 7.

Though the Gorakhpur district magistrate had not given any reason for the deaths, an official here had said that according to the Gorakhpur superintendent of police (SP), 21 children died due to oxygen supply shortage.

“According to the Gorakhpur SP, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen in BRD Medical College. Senior officers are at the spot. Exact cause is being verified by the civil administration,” the official, who did not to be identified, had said.

The Uttar Pradesh government said today that those found guilty in the ‘tragic and painful’ incident would face ‘stringent action’.

“Whosoever is found guilty in the tragic and painful incident at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur will certainly face stringent action,” Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya told reporters in Lucknow.

Health Minister Singh and state Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon on Saturday visit Gorakhpur to take stock of the situation at the medical college.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Saturday held the Uttar Pradesh government ‘responsible’ for the death of 30 infants and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited Baba Raghav Das Medical College in eastern Uttar Pradesh, along with party colleagues, expressed deep anguish over the death of 30 children, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, in a span of 48 hours.

He said, “This incident took place due to the laxity on the part of the state government. We hold the state government responsible for it. The health minister and the health secretary must immediately tender resignation. The doctors should not be blamed for this.”

Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the chief minister and the health minister should resign taking ‘moral responsibility’ for the deaths.

“There are clearly two dimensions to it, that of criminal culpability of all those who are responsible — the hospital administration, the oxygen supplier and the district administration which is supposed to exercise superintendence over the hospital, and the other is the moral responsibility of the chief minister.

“While all those responsible must be charged with criminal culpability accounting to murder, there is a moral dimension which the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and his health minister must take responsibility for and resign immediately,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the Uttar Pradesh health minister, the Congress leader tweeted, “UP Health Minister only seeks votes in Lal Bahadur Shastri ji’s name -he doesn’t follow Shastri ji’s high morals in politics… Shastri ji resigned taking moral responsibility for railway accident, @sidharthnsingh holds on to power even after death of infants(sic).”

Singh is grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Health Minister Singh had on Friday told PTI, “The deaths of children were very unfortunate and the government will set up an inquiry committee to ascertain if any lapse has been there and if anyone is found guilty he will be made accountable.”

He said that according to reports from the paediatric department of the hospital, 60 children died due to various diseases since August 7.

Singh, however, asserted that the deaths were not because of paucity of oxygen.

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