The Gorakhpur tragedy and its aftermath

Adityanath blames lack of hygiene for death of children in Gorakhpur hospital

Stray cattle outside an abandoned immunisation centre adjacent to the encephalitis ward at the state-run BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur on August 15, 2017.   | Photo Credit: V.V. KRISHNAN

Though he avoided a direct reference to the death of children suffering from infectious diseases such as encephalitis, chikungunya, dengue and Kala Azar in the BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said every “incident and accident,” should serve as a lesson.

“We must take lessons from every incident and accident [ghatna aur durghatna] and prevent their recurrence with firmness. So that such a situation does not arise in any other field of life,” he said in his first Independence Day speech as Chief Minister.

Swacch Bharat solution

Mr. Adityanath blamed unhygienic conditions for the rampant spread of the above diseases.“The solution to diseases like encephalitis is hidden in the Swacch Bharat Mission. It is not just Swachh but also Swasth [health] Bharat Mission,” he said.

Mr. Adityanath said that for the last two decades, he had been fighting the disease (encephalitis), which claims 500-1000 lives every year and urged the people of the State to make the Swachh Bharat Mission a part of their lives.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditiyanath during the Independence Day function at Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow on August 15, 2017.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditiyanath during the Independence Day function at Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow on August 15, 2017.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Supply maintained: firm

Meanwhile, the company supplying oxygen to the BRD Medical College has claimed that despite the pending payments over the last six months it did not cut the supply of oxygen cylinders.

The supply of liquid oxygen to the hospital was “maintained irrespective of overdue payment,” said Meenu Walia, HR manager of Pushpa Sales Private Limited.

“First supply for the month of August was made on August 4. The next intimation of refilling request from BRD Medical College was given on August 11, which was also made available on August 12 by Pushpa Sales,” Ms. Walia said.


Complaints to authorities

The documents made public by the firm also showed that among the dozen reminders it had sent to the BRD hospital and authorities of the State government since February, at least one was also marked to the Chief Minister and the State Health Minister, apart from being sent to the Director General Medical Education (DGME) and Principal Secretary of the department.

In the letter dated April 6, which was marked to the Chief Minister, Pushpa Sales requested the principal of BRD Medical College to ensure that their dues, which had touched ₹52.34 lakh then, be paid at the earliest so that they could continue to oxygen supply.

The firm also stressed that due to non-payment of dues, they would be unable to source oxygen from the supplier, INOX, and that the entire responsibility for lack of oxygen would fall upon the medical college.


Though it is not certain if the Chief Minister’s office acknowledged the letter, if it did, it raises questions on the claim of the government that he did not know of the payment issue.

Another letter was sent to the DGME on April 12, when the due had climbed to ₹55 lakh. Pushpa Sales then informed the government that due to the delay in making payment, INOX had communicated to it that it would not be able to supply it with oxygen post April 16.

Pushpa Sales has now also questioned why only 50-60 cylinders were available with the hospital between August 10 and 11 when it was required by norms to maintain 350-400 filled cylinders at any given point of time.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 6:36:45 AM |

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