Gorakhpur tragedy: Centre rushes team to BRD Medical College
New Delhi: Union minister of state (health) Anupriya Patel and secretary (health) C.K. Mishra rushed to the state-run Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur on Saturday where at least 30 children died due to alleged discontinuation of oxygen supply by a private contractor due to non payment of dues.
The central government has also sent a team of doctors to assess the “ground situation” and submit a report. The team will not only tackle the situation but also prevent any more casualties.
“We are aware of the incident. We have already sent a team of doctors from Safdurjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohiya Hospitals to help the state-run hospital. We are ready to extend all possible help,” said Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general health services (DGHS), Union health ministry.
According to the authorities in BRD Medical College, Pushpa Sales facilitates the oxygen supply to the hospital. The company had warned the medical college that in case of non payment of long pending dues, oxygen supply to the hospital will be discontinued.
A letter from Pushpa Sales to the principal of BRD Medical college, Rajiv Mishra, on 18 July 2017 states, “We have informed you many times via letters and over the phone that the payment is due for the past six months. Rs19.8 lakh was paid on May 11, and you promised to pay remaining dues i.e. Rs20 lakh soon but you have not made the payment so far.” Mint has reviewed the letter.
According to the letter, the then current dues were around Rs57.4 lakh. The letter undersigned by Dipankar Sharma who could not be contacted further states, “The INOX Company which is the manufacturer of oxygen cylinders has informed us that it will not resume the supply of gas if we don’t pay them Rs40 lakh.
“It is pertinent to note that liquid medical oxygen is indispensable for serious patients admitted in the hospital,” the letter further warned.
According to BRD Medical College staff, they have not been paid salaries due to financial crunch. Sources on the phone said that the hospital generally uses the pipeline supply of liquid medical oxygen but keeps a backup of 50 jumbo cylinders but the day when the oxygen supply was cut off, all the 50 cylinders were empty.
Over the lackadaisical attitude, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday suspended the principal of BRD Medial College and ordered a probe in the matter.