After hours, Prime Minister of India says constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur

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By Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo

NEW DELHI (INDIA):The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur where 30 children died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College here during the last 48 hours.

“PM is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur. He is in constant touch with authorities from the Central and UP Governments,” Modi said.

MoS Health Anupriya Patel and the Union Health Secretary will take stock of the situation from Gorakhpur”, the Prime Minister said.

According to Indian Express report, at least 60 children have died over five days at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, prompting the Uttar Pradesh government to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

The deaths are being blamed on infections and possible disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward but the hospital and district administration have rejected oxygen shortage as a reason.

On the other hand, the chief of the largest hospital has been suspended after 63 children, including many newborn babies, died in the last five days at the medical college in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s parliamentary constituency,” reported by NDTV.

Yogi Adityanath said he has ordered an inquiry and has promised “strict action against those found responsible.” He has rushed two top ministers, including health minister Sidharth Nath Singh to Gorakhpur.

23 children died at the hospital on Thursday, 14 of them in the neo-natal ward, where premature newborns are kept. While nine children died the previous day when the Chief Minister visited, nine on Monday, 12 on Tuesday and seven on Friday, according to the hospital.

Gorakhpur’s District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela has ruled out any deaths due to shortage of oxygen, saying it had been arranged from other suppliers. Officials say that most died due to infection.

“Culprits behind this will not be spared…The Chief Minister visited the hospital on 9 August, but the doctors there did not make him aware about oxygen,” said UP’s health minister Sidharth Nath Singh today, amid demands from opposition parties that he resign.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and others visited the hospital and demanded the resignation of UP’s health minister. “Heart-wrenching incident. Saddened by children’s death. This happened due to state government’s carelessness,” Mr Azad told reporters outside the hospital. Other opposition leaders are also expected to visit the hospital later in the day.

“Families of the dead were sent off with the bodies, they did not even do autopsies… extremely unfortunate,” former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav alleged in a tweet.

“I am pained beyond words,” said Congress President Sonia Gandhi, while her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi tweeted,

“Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP government is responsible and should punish the negligent who caused this tragedy.”

On his visit this week, Chief Minister Adityanath had inaugurated ten-bed ICU, a six-bed Critical Care Unit facility at the hospital, which gets a large number of encephalitis patients. Thousands have died of encephalitis in Gorakhpur since the first case was discovered in the 1970s.