The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday dismissed the principal of the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and hospital citing negligence over the deaths of 63 children since August 7. State Health Minister Siddarth Nath Singh refuted reports that the children had died from a shortage of oxygen, ANI reported.
“I wrote my resignation before the suspension and took responsibility for the death of innocent children,” the institution’s principal told reporters.
“The children did not die due to a disruption of [oxygen] gas supply,” Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh told reporters. Uttar Pradesh’s Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tondon said a high-level investigation into the matter will be conducted.
Tondon refuted claims that the hospital had informed the government about the oxygen shortage. “The Chief Minister was not informed by the doctors and officials about shortage of oxygen neither on July 9 nor on August 9,” Tondon said. “The shortage of oxygen was not highlighted.”
Opposition members had demanded the resignation of the state’s Chief Minister and Gorakhpur MLA Adityanath over the deaths. The state government assured the public of stringent action against those found responsible for the deaths at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, ANI reported.
The oxygen supply was allegedly stopped after the hospital failed to clear the suppliers’ bill of Rs 67 lakh. “The supply of liquid oxygen was disrupted on Thursday due to pending payments. We had requested the suppliers not to disrupt supply,” District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela had told the Hindustan Times.