Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot speaks to the media regarding the deaths of infants in Kota. (Image: Twitter/ANI)
New Delhi: Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Saturday said the state government’s response to the death of infants in Kota could have been “more compassionate and sensitive” and there was no point in blaming the BJP when the Congress government has been in power in the state for the past 13 months.
Pilot’s remarks came after he visited the JK Lon Hospital in the city on Saturday afternoon. More than 100 infants have died in the hospital in the last month, leading to a blame game between political parties and leaders.
According to officials, the death toll in Kota reached 107 on Saturday after a child died in the morning.
“I think our response to this could have been more compassionate and sensitive. After being in power for 13 months, I think it serves no purpose to blame the previous government’s misdeeds,” news agency ANI quoted Pilot as saying.
Asking for accountability to be fixed, the Congress leader said, “One cannot escape responsibility by weaving a web of numbers. We shouldn’t be talking about what happened in the past. We should rather be fixing responsibility of what is happening at present.”
Pilot, who is also the Congress state party chief, had earlier visited some of the families who lost their children before going to the hospital.
“The underprivileged people are dependent on these hospitals. They have lost their children and do not accept the argument about how many deaths occurred earlier and how many have died now,” he said.
When asked how the Congress high command was looking at the matter, Pilot said party president Sonia Gandhi is very concerned about it.
“She is very concerned. Not just her, but the state and entire country is concerned. It is not a small incident but a heart-wrenching matter. The entire country has shaken up,” he said.
Pilot’s comments came a day after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the infant deaths had taken place even when the BJP was in power and in the state — the number of deaths have gone down under the Congress rule, he had said.
When asked about Gehlot’s statement that the number of deaths of children has reduced under the Congress rule, Pilot said, “Whatever I am saying, I am saying with full responsibility.”
State Health Minister Raghu Sharma had also visited the hospital on Friday and blamed the BJP for politicising the matter.
‘Infants died of hypothermia’
A central team of experts on Saturday reached the hospital to take stock of the growing number of infant deaths in the area.
A three-member state government committee, which visited the hospital on December 23 and 24, found out that the hospital was short of beds and needed improvement. The committee, however, gave a clean chit to the doctors.
The committee formed by the state government has confirmed in its report that infants died due to hypothermia, a medical emergency that occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees. The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, reported IANS.
The report said that 22 nebulisers out of 28 were dysfunctional, 81 infusion pumps out of 111 were not working and the same was the story with para monitors and pulse oxymeters.
Citing the deaths of infants, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati warned the Uttar Pradesh government and asked it to take appropriate steps to maintain hospitals in the state.
“After learning a lesson from the painful death of many children in Gorakhpur, UP, the government should be very cautious to maintain its hospitals. Otherwise, it will not take much time for to be like Rajasthan.”
(With inputs from agencies)
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