Child deaths: Congress seeks Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh CMs’ resignations 

The party also urged the Prime Minister to look into the serious deficiencies in the health infrastructure in BJP-ruled states including Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan

Photo by Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

Congress has demanded the resignations of the Chief Minister of Jhakhand, Raghubar Das, and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, over growing number of child deaths due to alleged negligence in the government hospitals in two states in the recent past.

Accusing the Uttar Pradesh government of criminal negligence, RPN Singh, AICC in-charge, Jharkhand, and spokesperson, in a statement said: “61 children have died in 72 hours in Gorakhpur. More than 200 children have died in the same BRD Hospital in this month alone. Notwithstanding the shameful tragedy wherein we saw when 64 children were killed due to shortage of oxygen, the sheer complacency of the BJP government under Adityanath continues.”

In Jharkhand, he said, another dark chapter is being written in Jamshedpur and Ranchi. Blaming the BJP-led Raghubar Das government for the deaths of 164 children in the past 4 months in Jamshedpur, he said: “60 child deaths have taken place in the last month itself. In Ranchi, 133 deaths have been reported in the past 28 days.”

Congress, according to him, has started protests in Jamshedpur and has filed an FIR in Jamshedpur against Chief Minister Raghubhar Das, Health Minister Ranchandra Chandravanshi and senior health authorities. The party has also filed a complaint with the NHRC, which has issued a notice to the chief secretary, Jharkhand government, seeking report in 6 weeks.

“Our protests in Jamshedpur continue, due to which the High Court has also taken cognizance and asked the Civil and Session judge to visit the hospital and file a report,” he said, adding that Jharkhand Governor has also commented on the issue. “What is more shocking that the Chief Minister has not spoken a word about this tragedy or visited the hospital, despite it being in his home district.”

The BJP government is claiming that these deaths are due to malnutrition. What is a big pointer here is the total collapse of the “Central Government machinery as far as the health of these children of this country are concerned. It is important to note that out of the 6 incubators in Jamshedpur, 2 incubators were not functional. Also, one incubator is supposed to take care one infant, while the government and the hospital authorities were keeping 3-4 infants in a single incubator. 6 ventilators in the paediatric ward were dysfunctional. The cramping of cribs also led to high rate of deaths,” the statement read.

Singh further stated that it was the Modi government which slashed the allocation of funds for schemes tackling malnutrition by 50 per cent. “This is the primary reason for the increase in 'malnutrition deaths' in Jharkhand,” he claimed. “Earlier Rs 21,000 crore were allocated for women and child welfare schemes but in March 2015, the Modi government reduced it to mere Rs 10, 286.73 crore.”

He demanded that the Health Minister of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh be immediately sacked, pending a judicial enquiry.

“In another BJP-ruled state, Rajasthan, he alleged 81 children have died in Banswara's MG hospital in the last 53 days. “236 infants have been died in this year alone,” he said and claimed, “Recently, 3 children were dead in Chhattisgarh's Raipur, due to lack of oxygen.”

“We also urge the Prime Minister to look into the serious deficiencies in the health infrastructure in BJP-ruled states. The Women and Child Development Ministry should immediately release more funds to Jharkhand to tackle this extremely important issue,” he added.

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Published: 30 Aug 2017, 7:40 PM