Even after thirty children died at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, the doctors here continued to scramble for oxygen cylinders for treating the other kids.

The tragic incident occurred when the BRD hospital, the largest in Gorakhpur, ran out of cylinders around 7.30 pm, Thursday, August 10. Thirty children died in the next 48 hours.

It is alleged that a private contractor, Pushpa Sales Pvt Ltd, stopped supplying oxygen cylinders to the hospital because it was not paid dues amounting to Rs 70 lakh.

The Lucknow-based Pushpa Sales, the biggest of three oxygen suppliers to the BRD Medical College, released oxygen cylinders on Saturday, August 12, after the Uttar Pradesh government made a partial payment of Rs 21 lakh.

The state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh denied that lack of oxygen supply had caused the deaths. “Between 7.30 pm and 11.30 pm on Thursday, the cylinders were used,” he said. 

However, he admitted that between 11.30 pm and 1.30 am, there were not enough cylinders in the children’s wards, reported Scroll.

Also Read: 60 children die in five days in Gorakhpur's largest hospital, days after visit by UP CM Yogi Adityanath

But parents who lost their children in the hospital told reporters that because of the shortage of oxygen supply, doctors had asked them to use manual resuscitators also called Ambu-bags – bag-like devices to inflate the lungs of unconscious patients – to keep their babies oxygenated and alive.

Pushpa Sales authorities said the hospital was well informed and reminded about the dues as well as the contract that promises arrears would not be more than Rs 10 lakh.

This is not the first time the company cut off the oxygen supply. This happened in April last year too when the hospital owed the firm Rs 50 lakh. They said that the hospital continued to ignore their repeated warnings of cutting off oxygen cylinder supply. 

Even as Manish Bhandari, owner of Pushpa Sales, continues to blame the hospital for negligence, a FIR has been registered against Pushpa Sales.