<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After failing to act swiftly to prevent the death of 36 children in a span of 48 hours due to stoppage of oxygen supply to government-owned Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government finally reacted on Saturday.Following nation wide outrage, the UP government suspended Dr Rajeev Kumar Mishra, Principal of the BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur and also ordered an inquiry. At the same time, it refused to accept that the deaths had taken place due to shortage of oxygen supply.The Opposition has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh.Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon ‘Gopalji’, who reached Gorakhpur along with Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh, announced Dr Mishra’s suspension “with immediate effect”.Incidentally, the principal himself told the media that he had resigned in the morning on “moral grounds”, much before he was suspended by the Education Minister.”Taking the moral responsibility for the deaths of children, I had already resigned,” Mishra said.”These children have died in my tenure. Hence, I consider it as my moral responsibility,” he added.The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also said to be constantly monitoring the situation. Union Health Minister JP Nadda also asked Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel and Union Health Secretary CK Mishra to visit Gorakhpur.However, contradicting the government claim, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj said the oxygen supply was deliberately cut off over non-payment of dues, leading to the tragedy.Later in the evening, addressing his first press conference over the issue, the Chief Minister, who had incidentally visited the hospital on August 9, said he was “personally monitoring the situation”.He also claimed that after the supplier wrote a letter to the college principal on August 1, which was sent to DG, Medical Education on August 4, the government had released the money on August 5 for payment to the oxygen supplier.He also said that the role of the suppliers will also be probed.There were also reports that raids had been conducted on the office of the Lucknow-based firm that supplied oxygen to the hospital and had stopped because previous bills were not paid.Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon claimed the government had released funds for the medical college on August 5, which reached the hospital’s account on August 7, but the payment to the oxygen supplier was not made till August 11.”The state government has constituted a committee under the Chief Secretary to probe all aspects leading to the children’s deaths and the delay in making payment to the oxygen supplier. We will initiate strictest action, once the report is submitted,” he announced.Significantly, Singh, who is also the government spokesperson, admitted that oxygen was in short supply on the night concerned, from 11.30 pm to 1.30 am, but denied that any deaths were reported during that time. “The hospital staff used Ambu bags to continue oxygen supply to the critically-ill children. Hospital records show no deaths during this period,” Singh said.The Health Minister claimed that all records were checked and inquiries were made to reach to this conclusion. He further sought to justify the large number of deaths by stating that August is usually the peak period for Encephalitis, and figures from 2014 to 2016 suggest that, on an average, 17-18 children die in the month every year. “This year’s average is only 4-5 deaths, which clearly suggests that the Yogi Adityanath government has brought down the number of casualties by improving medical facilities,” he said.”Our government is very sensitive towards even a single death reported. We have taken the issue very seriously and ordered a high-level probe to initiate action against the erring officials and to further improve medicare facilities in the state,” Singh added.The minister also blamed the hospital authorities for not raising the issue of short oxygen supply with the CM, while he was there to review the facilities at the Encephalitis Special Ward on August 9.”The CM was not informed by doctors and officials about the shortage of oxygen, neither on July 9 nor on August 9. The Medical Education Minister was also not briefed about it. Appropriate action will be taken keeping these points in mind and a probe will be conducted,” Singh said, before leaving for Gorakhpur.DNA ASKSWhat action did hospital administration, state take to ensure oxygen supply wasn’t discontinued?Did the hosp principal inform government about Aug 1 letter from the firm, threatening to stop supply?When UP CM visited the hospital on August 9, was he informed about the crisis?Why did it take the state over a day to send Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh to Gorakhpur?Where was the neta when reports of deaths first came in?

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UP deaths: Red-faced, Yogi govt still in denial