Connect with us

Front Page

Gorakhpur hospital head suspended, CM blames children’s deaths on lack of cleanliness

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Health Minister blamed it on lack of cleanliness and diseases and not due to lack of oxygen.

Published

on

Gorakhpur, Aug 12 : Under all-round attack, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday suspended the head of the hospital over the deaths of 63 children in five days, even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Health Minister blamed it on lack of cleanliness and diseases and not due to lack of oxygen.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in whose constituency the hospital is located, the opposition demanded the resignations of the state Health and Medical Education Ministers.

The Centre sent Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel and Health Secretary C.K. Mishra to Gorakhpur and look into the lapses in the BRD Medical College, where the children, including in the neonatal ward, were said to have perished due to lack of oxygen supply.

Principal of the Baba Raghav Das Medical College R.K. Mishra was suspended for alleged negligence and callousness. Mishra later said he had already given his resignation, owing moral responsibility for the tragedy. Mishra has been asked to stay put as a committee had been formed to fix responsibility.

Announcing the suspension of Mishra, Singh asked the media not to jump to conclusions because a probe has been ordered. He said once the probe findings are out, strict action will be taken against the culprits. He claimed that no deaths had taken place due to lack of oxygen.

Meanwhile, addressing a public meeting in Allahabad, Adityanath said the deaths in his hometown were caused by filth and the scourge of open defecation.

“There are vector-borne diseases, such as encephalitis …It is a tragedy that lives of young children have been snuffed out because we do not lead a clean and hygienic life,” he said and reminded the crowd that the disease has been the bane of eastern Uttar Pradesh since 1978.

Singh, along with his cabinet colleague, Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon, were sent by the Chief Minister on Saturday morning to the hospital. Singh said the Chief Minister had visited the hospital on July 9 and again on August 9 where many things were reviewed, but the shortage of oxygen or any payment issue was never discussed.

He said that in 2014 the number of deaths due to encephalitis was 19, in 2015 it was 22, and 19 in 2016. Singh explained that he was not trying to justify the deaths at the BRD hospital.

The Minister said they have gone through the oxygen gas supply issue and that after thorough scrutiny they were of the opinion that the deaths had not taken place due to lack of oxygen. He also said that if any disruption in oxygen supply comes to light in further probe, the guilty would be brought to book.

In more embarrassment for the state government, it has come to light that the staff of the Central Oxygen Pipeline Plant at the hospital – from where oxygen is piped to different wards – had written to the head of the paediatrics department warning them of dwindling oxygen stock.

They had forewarned that the shortage could hit the patients admitted in various wards, specially the children.

It appears that the warning fell on deaf ears and that no advance arrangements were made for the oxygen.

Meanwhile, Parveen Modi, owner of Pushpa Sales company, which used to supply oxygen to the BRD hospital, denied that his company had the tender to supply oxygen.

He told media persons that his contract with the hospital had ended in March and was not renewed. He said the contract of Pushpa Sales was ended and the contract given to a new firm from Allahabad – Imperial Gas, after the BJP government came to power this year.

Modi said that till date Rs 20 lakh payment was pending with the hospital and that he had supplied liquid oxygen on Friday too, after a request made by the Divisional Commissioner.

“I did so completely on humanitarian grounds,” he said, and denied reports that he had disrupted the oxygen supply over non-payment of dues.

“I have supplied 200 cylinders after the request made by officials,” he added.

“Dues exist, but we were not serving the hospital oxygen since March” he clarified.

The opposition tore into the Adityanath government over the deaths. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited the hospital along with the party’s state unit chief Raj Babbar said Adityanath should personally apologize for the tragedy.

The principal opposition in the state, Samajwadi Party (SP) questioned the Chief Minister’s silence in the aftermath of the children’s deaths in his parliamentary constituency and hometown, that has left the state stunned.

Samajwadi Party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said it was very unfortunate that Adityanath has not uttered a word on such a “heart wrenching” tragedy.

“Gorakhpur where the children have died in such large numbers is the Chief Minister’s constituency and hometown. He has been there several times after assuming the post. And in the past 24 hours he has sadly said nothing on the issue,” he said.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also lashed out at the Adityanath government. She said the state government’s callousness led to the tragedy and called for a high-level probe into the incident.

Mayawati said a three-member fact finding team from her party will visit the medical college.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also questioned Adityanath’s silence. “First the callousness and now the shameless silence. It’s a pity that such indifferent people are ruling the state,” AAP spokesman Vaibhav Maheshwari told IANS.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has, however, hit back at the opposition, accusing it of “indulging in politics” on such a serious issue.

The medical college has been receiving massive funds from the state to tackle encephalitis, especially after Adityanath became the Chief Minister.

Attendants and family members of the patients admitted here, however, claim that despite the funds, there were neither doctors, nor proper treatment, adequate medicines or oxygen supply at the medical college.

Front Page

Refugees found frozen in Lebanon near Syria border

Published

on

Refugees found frozen

The bodies of nine Syrian refugees who crossed into Lebanon have been found frozen in a mountainous area near the border with Syria, according to the Lebanese army.

The military said in a statement that the bodies were found on a people-smuggling route in the early hours of Friday after a snowstorm hit the Masnaa area, where Lebanon’s largest official border crossing with Syria is located.

“The army saved six other displaced Syrians, one of whom died later in a hospital from frostbite,” the statement added, raising the death toll to 10.

“The bodies were taken to the hospitals in the area, and the army continues to search for other displaced people trapped in the snow, in order to evacuate them and provide medical treatment for them.”

The identities of the Syrian refugees were not immediately known. According to some reports, at least one child was among the bodies found.

Two other Syrian nationals were arrested and charged with people-smuggling, the army added.

‘We are deprived of everything’

Temperatures dropped on Friday as winter storms battered the Lebanon-Syria border, making the lives of the more than 357,000 Syrian refugees living in makeshift tents in the Bekaa Valley, some 60km north of Masnaa, even more difficult.

Reporting from the region, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Zeina Khodr said that Syrian refugees “face many challenges during the winter months”.

“They live in tents that are made out of plastic sheeting, which does little to protect them from the cold and the rain,” she said.

Hammadi Chelbi, a Syrian refugee who has been living in Bekaa Valley after he fled the Syrian conflict in its first year, told Al Jazeera that he and his family are living in misery.

“We have nothing but pain, sickness and suffering,” he said. “We are deprived of everything.”

There are one million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon, although government officials estimate that the number is closer to 1.5 million.

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) says it is not getting the money it needs to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon through another harsh winter.

Last year, it requested $228m but received less than 60 percent of that, prompting it to warn that life in the camps was getting worse.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Continue Reading

Front Page

One vote can’t change dynamics of our relations: Netanyahu on India

Published

on

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

New Delhi, Jan 14 : Just one negative vote at UN cannot change the dynamics of Indian-Israeli relations between India and Israel, visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said here on Sunday, terming relations with India as “marriage made in heaven”.

“I don’t think one vote affects a general trend you can see in many other votes and everything and these visits,” Netanyahu said when asked to comment on India’s vote at UN against US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in an interview on India Today TV channel.

“Yes, naturally we were disappointed, but this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts, be it political, technological, tourism, security and so many other areas. Ultimately you see it reflected in all UN votes, not just now but soon,” he added.

In December last year, India voted in favour of a resolution brought by Turkey and Yemen in the UN opposing the United States’ decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution was approved with 127-9 at the UN General Assembly.

“First of all there is a special relationship between the two countries, between their people and then between the leaders. The partnership between India and Israel is a marriage made in heaven but consecrated on earth,” Netanyahu said, adding he respects his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi “as a great leader” because he is “impatient to bring future to his people”.

On cooperation in counter-terrorism, he said that intelligence is the key.

“And Israel has on the whole superb intelligence. I would say none is better. And we share with you our intelligence and have stopped over the last few years some 30 major terror attacks, which we shared vis-a-vis not India alone but with dozens of countries.

“Israel protects lives of so many people. When you board a plane you want to know that plane won’t be blown up mid air. It will take off and land safely. When that happens, usually Israel has something to do with it, not on every flight but on many flights,” he said.

Asked if he approves India’s terror strikes launched across the border with Pakistan, he said that India makes its own choices and “you fight terrorism by fighting it”.

As the interviewer persisted, a smiling Netanyahu said: “Well, I am trying to be a foreign minister. I am trying to be a diplomat, because I hold two portfolios — the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister at the same time.”

Asked if Israel can use his good offices with China to persuade it to not veto a resolution against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Netanyahu said: “I think these things are best discussed not on television, especially if you want to make progress.”

However, he also said: “But our defence relationship is quite significant and comprises many things. I think the key word here is defence. We want to defend ourselves, we are not aggressive nations. We are very committed to making sure that none can commit an aggression against the either one of us.”

On the bilateral trade relations, the Israeli Prime Minister said that “there is a whole world that is erupting, exploding”.

Advocating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to boost and deepen bilateral economic relations, he said: “Israel is changing so rapidly. We are creating industries. We have just created a car industry in just last five years. We have 500 start-ups dealing with automation of car.

“And there are other areas like water, agriculture, energy, health, transportsation. There is a whole world that is erupting, exploding. Future belongs to those who innovate… Israel is an innovation nation. India has innovations. In Silicon Valley there are two dialects you hear — Hindi and Hebrew and only a little English.”

He said that when he visited the iconic Teen Murti war memorial at Haifa circle, he felt “an expression of gratitude” because it was Indian soldiers who fell down while defending the city of Haifa (now in Israel) during WW-I.

“It’s closing of a circle 100 years later,” he said.

In a sign of growing importance to the ties with Israel, the government on Sunday renamed Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk after the Israeli city.

Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India, the first Israeli Premier to visit India after 2003 when Ariel Sharon came. Setting aside protocol, Modi went to personally receive Netanyahu.

Continue Reading

Front Page

Full Court expected to resolve Supreme Court crisis

Published

on

dipak-misra

All 25 Supreme Court judges are expected to meet soon to resolve the crisis in the country’s apex court after four senior-most judges complained against Chief Justice Dipak Misra over allocation of cases.

Informed sources told IANS that a Full Court meeting of the Supreme Court judges will take place at the earliest to take a call on the issue and deliberate over the complaints highlighted in public by the four judges — Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — who are the senior-most after Justice Misra in that order.

The rebel judges criticised the Chief Justice over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the top court was “not in order”.

As there was no solution in sight, Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh met Justice Misra and gave him a copy of the resolution the Bar passed on Saturday. The resolution also suggested a Full Court meeting to resolve the matter.

Two days after the crisis began, a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Sunday also met the Chief Justice to convey its concern over the issue. The BCI also met three of the four rebel judges.

“We hope that the issue will be sorted out amicably and no one from outside should interfere,” BCI President Manan Kumar Mishra told reporters.

“During the meetings with Justice Misra, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Lokur, Justice Joseph and other judges, each one of them assured us that the issues will be resolved. The meetings with the judges took place in a very cordial atmosphere.”

Justices Sharad Arvind Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao also met Justice Chelameswar at his residence.

As the crisis lingered, four retired judges wrote to Justice Misra on Sunday, throwing their weight behind the four rebel judges who “have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court”.

The retired judges are Justice P.B. Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge, Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice K. Chandru, a former judge of the Madras High Court, and Justice H. Suresh, a former judge of the Bombay High Court.

They appreciated the “grave concern” raised by the four Supreme Court judges that cases were not being allocated in a proper manner and “arbitrarily” allocated to “particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges”.

“This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law,” read the letter by the four former judges.

They said they agreed with the view of the rebel judges that the Chief Justice despite being the master of roster cannot assign cases “in an arbitrary manner such that, sensitive and important cases are sent to hand-picked benches of junior judges by the Chief Justice”.

“This issue needs to be resolved… for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent. Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.”

Meanwhile, the Co-ordination Committee of All District Bar Associations of Delhi on Sunday condemned the four senior Supreme Court judges for going public over their differences with Justice Misra.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular