Alleging criminal negligence leading to the death of around 300 children in two premier government hospitals in Jharkhand, the Congress on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Raghubar Das and the sacking of the Health Minister.
The party also demanded a judicial inquiry monitored by a sitting High Court judge and called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into “serious deficiencies in the health infrastructure” in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states.
“Ranchi and Jamshedpur districts in Jharkhand are passing through dark times,” AICC in-charge of the state R.P.N. Singh said.
“The downright callousness of the BJP-led Raghubar Das Government is responsible for the death of 164 children in the past four months in Jamshedpur only.”
Singh added that out of the 164 deaths in Jamshedpur, 60 took place in the last month itself.
The Congress leader pointed that in the state capital Ranchi, 133 deaths had been reported in the past 28 days.
“This means almost 300 children have died in the two biggest government hospitals — Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur — of the state. So, you can understand what would be the situation in the rest of the state.”
Singh said that his party would continue its protest to mount pressure for ensuring accountability.
The party has lodged a complaint against Das, Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi and senior health authorities.
It also filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand and sought a report in six weeks.
Taking note of the Congress protest, the Jharkhand High Court also took cognizance of the issue and asked the Civil and Sessions Judge to visit the hospital and submit a report, Singh said.
He added that even the Jharkhand Governor has commented on the need to control such incidents but the Chief Minister has not said a word about this tragedy or visited any of the hospitals.
He raised questions over non-functional incubators in Jamshedpur and pointed out that the hospital authorities were keeping three-four infants in a single incubator despite the fact that one incubator was good enough to take care of only one infant.
“Six ventilators in the Pediatric Ward were dysfunctional. Cramping of kids also led to high rate of deaths,” the leader said.
He also raised questions over the deaths of 81 children in the BJP-ruled state of Rajasthan and three deaths in Chhattisgarh apart from Gorakhpur.