Congress wants Jharkhand CM out over death of 300 children
New Delhi/Ranchi: Alleging criminal negligence leading to the death of around 300 children in two premier government hospitals in Jharkhand, the Congress on Wednesday demanded resignation of Chief Minister Raghubar Das and sacking of Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi.
The party also demanded a judicial inquiry monitored by a sitting High Court judge and called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into "serious deficiencies in the health infrastructure" in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states.
"The downright callousness of the BJP-led Raghubar Das Government is responsible for the death of 164 children in the past four months in Jamshedpur only," AICC in-charge of the state R.P.N. Singh said.
He said that out of the 164 deaths in Jamshedpur, 60 took place last month itself.
Similarly, the Congress leader pointed, in the state capital Ranchi, 133 deaths had been reported in the past 28 days only.
"This means almost 300 children have died in the two biggest government hospitals -- Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur -- of the state."
The party has filed a complaint against Das, Health Minister and senior health authorities with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand and sought a report in six weeks.
Taking note of the Congress protest, the Jharkhand High Court also took cognizance of the issue and asked the Civil and Sessions Judge to visit the hospital and submit a report, Singh said.
"No single reason can be attributed to the deaths at RIMS, they have taken place due to several reasons. The age of children who died was from newborn to 10 years," a RIMS doctor told IANS, preferring anonymity.
In fact, the death of children in large numbers is not something new for the RIMS administration. If the monthly data is taken into consideration, the total number of children dying in June stood at 69.
Given the poor state of health services in Jharkhand, on Tuesday, Governor Draupdi Murmu also expressed concern over the death of children.
The Health Department officials, however, seem woefully unaware of the reasons for high casualties in the RIMS and MGM hospitals. They tend to shrug off their responsibilities, saying people, particularly children, fall ill in large numbers during the rainy season.
"People from several districts are admitted for treatment in RIMS. The number of patients is much more than it can effectively handle. This is one of the main reasons for high casualties here," he said.