In a rerun of the BC Roy Memorial Hospital tragedy in Kolkata 10 days ago, when 18 newborns died within 36 hours, 21 children have died in the last 48 hours in two government-run hospitals in West Bengal's Murshidabad district.
Twelve children died in Behrampore Sadar Hospital (BHS) and nine in Jangipur sub-divisional hospital, 210 km north of Kolkata. The children were all under three years of age.
"They were suffering from malnutrition, breathing problems and other ailments," said Jangipur hospital superintendent Saswata Mondal.
A hospital source said eight other children were on life support there.
"There was no fault on the part of the doctors. They tried their best to save the children but it's impossible to save everyone," said BSH superintendent Partha Dey.
On an average, one to two children die in these hospitals every day.
"Twenty-one children died of septicemia, meningitis, malnutrition. I have alerted my block medical officers and sought a report from the two hospital supers," chief medical officer of health (Murshidabad) Syad Shajahan Siraj said on Saturday.
In the BC Roy case too, a probe panel set up by chief minister Mamata Banerjee had absolved the doctors and nurses of any blame.
The Kolkata hospital was in the news in 2002 too, for 22 crib deaths in a span of 72 hours.
Banerjee has taken up health sector reforms as a priority area. Last week, she removed health secretary MN Roy.