The death of 72 children in Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College has opened the lid on a labyrinth of corruption and lax behaviour that seems to have afflicted the hospital administration, culminating in the tragic incident.
A legal notice sent by Pushpa Sale Pvt Ltd, the gas supplying agency which stopped supply of oxygen cylinders to the government hospital following non-payment of dues, reveals that it was owed over Rs 63 lakh. Rs 63,65,702 to be more specific.
And this despite the fact that the hospital made partial payment. According to the legal notice sent by the vendor, the order was received by Pushpa Sale at 3 September, 2013, for supply of medical gas to BRD medical college. But payments were not being made since November 2016 as per the tri-parte agreement dated on 9 January 2014 involving Inox Air Products Limited.
The registered legal notice also documents all details of bills for which payments were due by the hospital. The notice shows over 21 entries of payments that still required payment. The document goes on to state that despite repeated requests and personal presentations made to the college for making the payments, the hospital failed to make settle the bills.
The notice mentions the following dates: 26 February, 28 February, 4 April, 6 April, 12 April, 17 April, 2 May, 3 May, 16 May, 29 May, 6 June, 13 June, 28 June and 18 July, meaning that BRD medical college was prompted over 14 times to clear the payments. As stated in point five of the notice, Pushpa Sale emphasised the importance of medical gas and said that the lax behaviour of the administration had compelled the client to halt the "easy supply of medical gas".
The notice warned that payments needed to be paid within 15 days from receipt of the notice, which is dated 30 July, 2017, along with a staggering 18 percent interest rate. This means that BRD Medical College would have to pay an additional Rs 11,45,826.36 to the existing bill of Rs 63,65,702.
The document also states that a copy of the legal notice was sent to Dr KK Gupta, Uttar Pradesh directorate of medical education and training, Rajeev Mishra, principal secretary of medical education in Uttar Pradesh, and district magistrate of Gorakhpur, Rajeev Rautela.
Here is the aforementioned legal notice:
However, the legal implications of this tragedy seem bleak. The Essential Services Maintenance Act talks only about strike action and doesn't deal with situations of suppliers taking action on account of non-payment of dues. While Uttar Pradesh health minister Siddhartha Nath Singh had mentioned this, it is yet to be seen how the legal notice affects the process of justice that needs to be provided to the kin of the 72 deceased infants.
Updated Date: Aug 14, 2017 21:29 PM