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Gorakhpur tragedy: ‘Jolted’ Varun Gandhi to build children’s hospital in Sultanpur

Varun Gandhi’s move comes at a time when the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh has invited criticism for ignoring SOS calls about oxygen supply to the hospital, which treats hundreds of children suffering from Japanese encephalitis.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2017 20:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gorakhpur tragedy,Gorakhpur deaths,Yogi Adityanath
BJP MP Varun Gandhi.(AFP File Photo)

The BJP MP from Sultanpur, Varun Gandhi, on Monday pledged to use the fund allocated for his constituency to build a child care facility in the central Uttar Pradesh district amidst an outrage over the death of over 60 children at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur.

The children died in Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College within a span of a week in Gorakhpur, chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s hometown and parliamentary constituency, after its liquid oxygen supply was cut since it failed to pay dues to the supplier.

Gandhi pledged Rs 5 crore from his Member of Parliament Local Area Development - the amount legislators get every year for development work in their constituency - for creating a new wing at the district hospital in Sultanpur.

This, he said in a statement, will be accompanied by a matching grant of Rs 5 crore more, which he will raise personally through donations and collection from corporate social responsibility fundings.

“The human tragedy in Gorakhpur has left me jolted,” the 36-year-old MP said in the statement. “It is my hope that other MPs, who represent a rural constituency, also initiate something similar in their area to ensure our children’s care and protection.”

“The fund will be functional today itself ... With sufficient additional funds from external donors, this paediatric wing will be functioning full swing in six months from today,” he added.

Gandhi’s move comes at a time when the Bhartiya Janata Party-led government in country’s most populous state has invited criticism for ignoring SOS calls about oxygen supply to the hospital, which treats hundreds of children suffering from Japanese encephalitis.

The state government has denied a cut in liquid oxygen supply by a private firm over the delay in payment of Rs 68 lakh caused the deaths and blamed many of the deaths on Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

The deaths are the first big crisis for Adityanath, who took charge less than six months ago. The chief minister had visited the facility and took stock of the arrangements two days before the night most of the children died.

Gandhi said the Gorakhpur incident must act as an impetus to take action that serves as a deterrent against the reoccurrence of such an incident.

The Opposition called it a “massacre” and has demanded Adityanath’s resignation. The Congress rubbished his claim that the deaths occurred due to vector-borne diseases and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 15:05 IST