Gorakhpur – Two ministers of the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh who visited the government college and hospital hereon Saturday where more than 60 children have died in last six days denied reports that the deaths were caused by disruption in supply of oxygen through pipe. The principal of the college A K Mishra, however, has been suspended in view of the public outrage.
The ministers, Siddharth Nath Singh ( health) and Ashutosh Tandon ( education) who were sent by chief minister Yogi Adityanath to make an on the spot assessment told media persons that encephalitis and other common diseases in the area at this time of the year were mainly responsible for the tragedy.
The opposition, mainly the Congress, has raised much hue and cry over it and demanded resignation of Yogi and Singh, holding them morally responsible for so many deaths.
A committee headed by chief secretary has been formed to make a detailed inquiry into the causes leading to the deaths and to recommend remedial measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya assured, meanwhile, that no body how so ever big he or she was would be spared if found guilty.
Health minister Singh doled out figures to suggest that more deaths were caused every year in this part of the state in August month due to some disease or the other. New born babies were the main sufferers.
Reeling out figures for last three years, he said, on an average, 17-18 deaths were caused in this month between 2014 and 2016 . As against 567 deaths in 2014, 558 deaths were recorded in 2015 and 587 in 2016.
He admitted that the oxygen supply through pipe was disrupted for some time but alternative arrangements were made immediately and the vital gas supply was made through the alternative sources.
Earlier reports had said that liquid oxygen supply to the hospital was stopped to the hospital by the supplier due to non-payment of dues which had jacked up to over Rs 60 lakhs. It was alleged that most of the children had died due to non-availability of gas cylinders.
The BKD hospital where the tragedy had occurred was visited by Yogi a day before but it is officially claimed that no one had mentioned about the dues. Yogi had spent considerable time in the hospital, met patients and talked to authorities at length on several issues concerning them.