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Tirupati: Mystery continues over death toll
The controversy over the number of deaths due to the interruption in oxygen supply for a few minutes at Ruia hospital on May 10 still haunts the government.
Tirupati: The controversy over the number of deaths due to the interruption in oxygen supply for a few minutes at Ruia hospital on May 10 still haunts the government. The district collector has categorically stated that a few hours after the tragedy that the oxygen supply was interrupted only for five minutes which claimed the lives of 11 patients.
After being silent on the allegations that the death toll was higher, the government issued a fresh order on May 19 releasing ex-gratia to 12 more Covid positive patients, clearly stating that they died on May 10 during the incident of low pressure liquid oxygen that happened at Ruia hospital. This has obviously proved that the opposition's claims over the number of deaths were true.
In fact, the opposition parties have been alleging from day one that the officials were been hiding the exact number of deaths. The issue was brought to the notice of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also by former MP Dr Chinta Mohan and Jestadi Sudhakar of All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice. The NHRC has sought a report from the principal secretary, health and family welfare of AP within four weeks.
Following the fresh orders of the government, BJP state spokesperson G Bhanu Prakash Reddy alleged that though the latest circular was kept confidential among official circles, it made clear that the official death toll was 23 and not 11. Of the 12 patients to whom the ex gratia was sanctioned on May 19, six belonged to Chittoor district while other are from neighbouring districts.
Further, Ruia hospital authorities issued a certificate to the son of C Madan Mohan Reddy of Somala that his father died at 8 pm but the name was not included in the two lists.
Bhanu Prakash Reddy at a press conference here on Wednesday, said that the whole issue was very much erratic due to which several victims could not get justice.
The officials were hiding the exact number of deaths so as to safeguard the government, he said adding that he had already written to the collector and the Governor on the issue and filed a PIL in the AP High Court.
Saying that Ruia hospital official records clearly indicate a total of 58 deaths on that day, out of which two were non-Covid deaths while one was a case of brought dead, he demanded an ex gratia of Rs 25 lakh to the kin of each Covid patient who lost their lives on May 10.
Another woman who was present at the press meet said that though her husband also died during the same time when others have died due to the low pressure in oxygen, the authorities have changed the time in the certificate.
Bhanu Prakash argued that ex gratia has to be paid to families of all Covid patients died in the hospital after 8.30 pm on May 10 also as they had died due to the after-effects of failure in oxygen supply. If the government does not come forward and do justice in this regard before May 30, BJP will take up an agitation on behalf of victims, he warned.