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Gorakhpur deaths: Wake up call for Yogi, as officials hide facts from him

Officials kept UP CM in dark about oxygen supply cut by vendor over non-payment of dues by hospital

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Yogi Adityanath

The death of about 60 children in a top hospital in Gorakhpur, allegedly due to the snapping of oxygen supply by a private company over payment arrears has come as wake-up call for Uttar Pradesh chief minister to haul up his top brass.

Yogi, who represents in Parliament, had visited his constituency on August 9 and chaired review meetings apart from visiting several hospitals to take stock of the ground situation.

The private company, Pushpa Private Limited, which allegedly cut oxygen supply to Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College over outstanding bills amounting to Rs 68 lakh, had written several letters to the concerned officials seeking clearance of payment, but nothing was done.

During Yogi’s visit, the district officials did not bring this fact to Yogi’s notice nor did the officials of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) update him. This shows lack of coordination and sheer laxity on the part of the CMO paraphernalia despite stern directives for speedier information flow and e-office system already implemented.

During the recent visit of president to Lucknow, the party leaders had complained that UP minister and officials were inaccessible to them.

Yogi rule, which is set to complete 5 months in office later this week, is yet to bring about any perceptible change in governance, especially on the fronts of law and order, policing, health, education etc.

Although, the general perception is that the new dispensation has its priorities cut out, yet the ground realities remain as good or bad as during the previous (SP) government headed by

On condition of anonymity, a former chief secretary told Business Standard that the Yogi dispensation had yet not identified and constituted its core team of officials to fructify its policies and roadmap.

“What I can surmise is while there is no doubt that the new government has a definite action up its sleeve, it is apparent that the new CM is yet to form its core team of officials to pilot flagship projects and policies,” he added.

Although, the state government claimed that the deaths in the BRD Medical College, which gets patients not only from Gorakhpur, but the adjoining districts of Bihar and Nepal, were not due to oxygen supply cut or thereof, a high level inquiry has been ordered to fix the responsibility and punish the guilty.

Meanwhile, a senior bureaucrat posted in the UP secretariat claimed since the medical institute received a large number of critically ill patients, deaths were a routine affair in the hospital and there had been no unusual spurt in the number of deaths over the last 48 hrs or so, as being attributed to oxygen supply constraints since Thursday.

Japanese Encephalitis, a type of brain fever, has claimed lives of thousands of children in the region over the past decades.

Nonetheless, the issue has jolted the Yogi government, which was busy preparing to roll out its flagship crop loan waiver scheme on August 17 with the CM himself distributing loan waiver certificates to some small and marginal farmers in Lucknow.

The tragedy has occurred at such time, when Yogi was to shortly resign from the constituency to enter the UP legislature, as is mandated under law within six months of assuming office. Yogi, who took oath on March 19, has time until September 19 to become a member of the either houses of UP legislature to continue as the CM.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have latched up to the opportunity to corner Yogi with some even demanding his resignation.

Former UP CM and principal opposition president said it was the failure of the state government. He noted the entire government machinery was engaged in allegedly harassing the SP legislators and had little time for governance. Yadav has sent a party delegation to and submit a report to him in the matter.

Another former UP CM and (BSP) president termed it as an utter failure of Yogi and demanded the guilty be punished and relief extended to the victims’ families.

Meanwhile, a delegation of leaders led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, UP chief and former union minister R P N Singh visited and demanded the resignation of state health minister and concerned officials.

The Centre has also sought a report from the state government in the issue.

First Published: Sat, August 12 2017. 16:17 IST