Health activists said successive governments had ignored the threat posed by encephalitis as it was a disease that affected poor, malnourished children. District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela said Saturday the deaths of the children being treated for different ailments were due to natural causes.
"As per SP Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen in BRD Medical College, in last 36 hours".
The Chief Minister also said, "We have constituted a committee to be lead by chief secretary to enquire the role of oxygen supplier in the incident".
At least 30 children died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur due to alleged discontinuation of oxygen supply by a private contractor due to non payment of dues.
Gorakhpur's district magistrate Rajeev Rautela said that no deaths have taken place in the medical college due to lack of oxygen supply. "The issue of gas supply did not come up and was even not brought to his notice by the doctors and principal", UP health minister Siddarth Nath Singh told reporters here.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today issued directives to authorities to reach the spot and initiate a thorough probe, while ensuring strict action.
Most of those who died were suffering from encephalitis which is frequently reported case among children in Gorakhpur.
A delegation of Congress leaders under leadership of leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Gulam Nabi Azad has also visited the hospital and met the victims families. Action will be taken against those responsible. Thus he says that the point of shortage of oxygen is not true.
"I did so completely on humanitarian grounds", he said, and denied reports that he had disrupted the oxygen supply over non-payment of dues.
Demanding a high-level inquiry into the incident, Mayawati said all possible help should be extended to the bereaved families. Meanwhile, according to data procured from the BRD hospital, in past five days - from August 7 to August 11, a total of 60 deaths have occurred in the hospital.
Adityanath also emphasised on the fact that Japanese encephalitis remains a challenge for his government and assured that a solution has been found to address the menace.