The government however said that only seven had died. What followed was complete chaos as panic-stricken relatives of patients ran for help, and with the support of hospital staff tried to maintain supply of oxygen. using artificial manual breathing bags.
Tandon said, "The oxygen supplier company claims that it had approached the health department on August 1 for payment of its dues, to which the department had released funds and informed the BRD Medical College for payment on August 5".
"There have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen supply", said UP's medical education Minister Ashutosh Tondon, adding that the district magistrate of Gorakhpur has ordered an investigation and "the report will be out within 24 hours". Sources on the phone said that the hospital generally uses the pipeline supply of liquid medical oxygen but keeps a backup of 50 jumbo cylinders but the day when the oxygen supply was cut off, all the 50 cylinders were empty. "Adityanath and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh should immediately resign from their post".
"Whoever is found guilty in the tragic and painful incident at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur will certainly face stringent action", Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya told PTI in Lucknow on Saturday.
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The region is one the poorest in India and records hundreds of deaths of children due to diseases, including encephalitis, every year.
Earlier, Modi Chemical Private Limited used to supply oxygen cylinders to the hospital and its contract with the company ended in March.
The deaths have sparked a political firestorm as opposition politicians sought to pin the blame on Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules the state.
It's a massacre not a tragedy, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said on Friday reacting to the incident.
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Congress's RPN Singh also held Adityanath government's responsible for the tragedy.
As for the cause of death in the hospital, Mishra said they were awaiting inquiry report from the state government.
Meanwhile, Masood Ahmed, the state unit president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, said it was a "matter of grave concern" that the district administration and the hospital were "trying to hide their shortcomings" and demanded the resignation of state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh.
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Local officials have denied that the deaths are linked to a lack of oxygen supply.