Saga of Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College does not seem to near an end. On Thursday, the Samajwadi Party (SP) accused Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government of encouraging corrupt practices in the medical college.
Many journalists, doctors and leaders have also alleged that the BRD Medical College is not producing the health bulletin since August 13, 2017 – after close to 60 infants died last year, leading to a national uproar. Journalists are claiming that they had raised serious concerns after the issue, which is why the health bulletin and press releases are not being provided to them.
Earlier, BRD administration used to provide the data regarding number of patients visiting, number of encephalitis patients and their medical status etc. to the chief medical officer (CMO) and additional director (health and family welfare), However, it has been a year since the data was made available last time.
Speaking to Newsclick, a Gorakhpur-based journalist, Manoj Singh, who runs an online news portal called Gorakhpur News Line, said, "Earlier, everyone used to get a press release because we need to write the reports with the exact data, but since October2017, they have stopped the practice. When someone asks about the same, they ask them to collect it from the proctor, and when we reach out to the proctor, he throws ball into the medical college principal's court, but nobody provides the data. We then collect the data from our own sources."
He further added that the BRD principal Dr Ganesh Kumar asked him many a times why they (the reporters) printed negative stories about the hospital, as there are so many positive stories floating.
“It is really challenging to write a report on encephalitis deaths if you do not have data in your hands. We have been informed that the BJP government in the state has ordered not to provide a health bulletin or any press release to anyone, as it creates havoc among the people. But, the same government – when they were in opposition – used to counter former CM Akhilesh Yadav and his government with press releases and the data on encephalitis deaths," said Singh.
When asked why the data is hidden, Singh said, "If they will provide any data, they will be exposed, as there is no improvement at any department including encephalitis department and the condition is more or less same. It is really beyond our understanding why the Yogi government hiding the data.”
Prahlad Yadav, district president, Samajwadi Party, claimed, "Government pressurizes the district magistrate not to provide the data on the deaths at BRD. Earlier, the district magistrate used to provide the health bulletin and the data. Something is fishy. Earlier during Akhilesh's regime, every day at 4 pm, they used to reveal number of deaths due to encephalitis. They have stopped the practice now.”
Yadav further alleged that the Yogi government wants to hide its failures and probably after 4-5 months, they might collect some fake data and show it to the people, to claim that there were less deaths during their rule. “After establishing 200 wards for encephalitis, condition is still pathetic because they (the administration) use single bed for four-five kids,” he said.
Newsclick also tried to contact Gorakhpur Commissioner of Police Anil Kumar, but the calls went unanswered.