NEW DELHI: Dismissing reports of disruption in oxygen supply as the reason behind the fatalities at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said the death of 30 infants was due to encephalitis.
Flanked by Union health minister J P Nadda, the chief minister admitted that while the state government has done a lot of work to tackle the disease, there still remains much room for improvement.
"This is my fourth visit to the hospital, my last visit had been on August 9. High-level officers of UP government were present and I'd asked them 'what is our action plan against acute encephalitis?'" Adityanath said on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference after conducting an inspection of the hospital where 68 children breathed their last in the past week, Adityanath said the government had launched a thorough investigation into the matter and will take strict action against those responsible.
"I have already asked for a report. I will make sure the incident is thoroughly investigated. Those who're guilty won't be spared," he assured.
In light of the tragedy at the government hospital, Adityanath said he has directed medical colleges to ensure there is no shortage of medicines or oxygen.
Adityanath said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended every possible aid to the state government after he'd briefed him about the situation at BRD Medical college Centre.
The state government had suspended BRD Medical College Principal Rajeev Mishra on Saturday for his "irresponsible act" of allegedly delaying payment to the agency supplying oxygen cylinders to the hospital.
More heads rolled on Sunday as the Uttar Pradesh government removed Dr. Kafeel Khan as the nodal officer for the Department of Pediatrics of Baba Raghav Das Medical College, ANI reported. According to reports, Khan had saved the lives of many children suffering with encephalitis as he himself paid a local supplier for the oxygen after the regular contractor stopped oxygen supply to the hospital due to uncleared dues.
The UP Congress on Sunday termed the large number of infant deaths in a Gorakhpur hospital "murder" and demanded Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath's resignation, saying if he was unable to handle an institution, how will he run the state.
"70 children were murdered in the last four days (since August 10). The state government is responsible for their murder. This government is a killer and I want to ask how many more children will be killed," Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar told reporters here.
"When a chief minister is unable to handle a medical college in his home district, how would he run the state? He should immediately resign from his post," he told a press conference here while attacking the UP CM.