Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: Investigation initiated, assures UP Dy. CM Maurya

Congress leaders Sonia Rahul Gandhi express pain at UP child deaths

Rahul Gandhi said the BJP government must punish the guilty

Breaking silence over death of 60 children in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said that issue of Encephalitis persists in Eastern region of the state since 1978.

However, before leaving for Gorakhpur, state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh today reiterated that no child died due to a shortage of oxygen.

In a statement, the hospital said "the pressure of the liquid oxygen supply became low" and that reserve cylinders were arranged, but did not specify whether that had resulted in any deaths and why so many children had died in just two days.

The district magistrate, Rajeev Rautela, said that the deaths appear to have occurred due to a lack of oxygen.

. Of the 30 deaths, 17 took place in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Nadda has sought a report from the state health department into the matter.

Opposition Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "Deeply pained".

State health minister Siddharthnath Singh, too, dismissed reports.

Also denying the shortage of oxygen or disruption of the central oxygen plant had lead to the deaths of children, including infants, he attributed the deaths to some being underweight, early delivery, sepsis, pneumonia and other infections.

He added that seven deaths (neo-natal ward 3, AES ward 2 and general ward 2) were reported since last midnight, while the remaining 23 deaths (neo-natal 14, AES 3 and general 6) were reported since the midnight of August 9-10.

Incidentally, Gorakhpur was Adityanath's parliamentary constituency before he took charge as the Chief Minister of the state.

Parmatma Gautam, whose 1-month-old nephew, Roshan, died when the oxygen supply stopped, said the hospital authorities and the district administration were trying to cover up their failure to pay the bills on time.

The family had rushed the newborn to the hospital from neighbouring Siddharthnagar district on August 9 because he had a high fever.

They had forewarned that the shortage could hit the patients admitted in various wards, specially the children.

"Our heart goes out to the families of all those young children, who have perished due to sheer negligence or who have died due to sheer negligence", Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI.

A team of specialists from the federal health ministry was sent to the hospital on Saturday to verify what caused the deaths. She urged the UP government to take "immediate cognizance of the crime and culprits" and said persons responsible for this neglect must be brought to book.

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