Virender Sehwag expresses grief due to children's encephalitis deaths in Gorakhpur

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Meanwhile Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh arrived in Gorakhpur to take stock of the situation at BRD Medical College Hospital where death of 60 children have been reported since August 7.

He and his Health Minister Siddharthnath Singh quoted figures of child deaths in August over a period of three years and after the BJP government came to power to claim that the deaths have occurred due to vector-borne diseases like Japanese Encephalitis highly prevalent in the region. What followed was complete chaos as panic-stricken relatives of patients ran for help, and with the support of hospital staff tried to maintain supply of oxygen. using artificial manual breathing bags.

Yesterday, as many as 30 children lost their lives due to encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, in a span of 48 hours at the hospital of Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College.

A statement issued by the state Information Department late evening categorically denied reports shown by "some TV channels as misleading". Even though the agency warned to stop the supply of oxygen without getting the money, the government is still not accepting that such a major incident has occurred in the hospital due to the lack of oxygen.

"As Yogi is the chief minister of the state, it is his responsibility to take care of the people". 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. 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".

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Local media reports have said some of the deaths were caused due to an oxygen shortage after a private supplier withdrew its equipment over unpaid hospital dues.

State health minister Siddharth Nath Singh said oxygen supply was disrupted at the hospital for two hours on Thursday night but ruled it out as the reason for the tragedy.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi expresses her deep shock at the tragic incident and said she was pained beyond words by the tragedy. He also appealed to the workers of the state Congress to provide relief to the families of such children. "Doctors are responsible for the incident", he said. Thus he says that the point of shortage of oxygen is not true.

According to the government, 60 deaths have taken place in the hospital during past five days.