NEW DELHI, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- At least 30 children have died at a government hospital in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the past 48 hours due to insufficient oxygen supply, officials said Friday.
The deaths occurred in BRD medical college, the largest government hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district after a private firm contracted to supply oxygen cylinders allegedly withdrew over non-payment of outstanding dues, according to a top official.
"We have been told that the BRD Hospital witnessed disturbance in liquid oxygen supply since last night as the private firm withdrew supply owing to non-payment," district magistrate Rajeev Rautela told the media.
"Seven deaths were reported since Thursday night to Friday noon. Twenty-three children died between Wednesday and Thursday. A total of 30 deaths occurred in the past 48 hours," he added.
Surprisingly, state Health Minister Siddharthnath Singh has said that no deaths occurred to to oxygen shortage. "A probe has been ordered into the incident and a final picture will be clear after it comes out," he said.
This is the first such incident of such a large number of child deaths from the hospital.