Even as the Uttar Pradesh government went into damage control mode following the deaths of over 60 children in a Gorakhpur hospital, including many due to disruption in the oxygen supply, the owner of a firm that supplied oxygen to the hospital said his contract had ended in March and was not renewed.
Parveen Modi, owner of Pushpa Sales company, which used to supply oxygen to the Baba Raghav Das medical college, categorically denied that it had the tender to do so.
He told media persons that his contract with the hospital had ended in March and was not renewed. While it is a practice that till new tender formalities are not completed, the supplier is asked to continue as a stop gap arrangement, in this case it was not done, he said.
The contract of Pushpa Sales company was ended and the contract given to a new firm from Allahabad - Imperial Gas, after the BJP government came to power this year.
Modi said that till date Rs 20 lakh payment was pending with the hospital and that he had supplied liquid oxygen on Friday too, after a request made by the Divisional Commissioner.
"I did so completely on humanitarian grounds," he said, and denied reports that he had disrupted the oxygen supply over non-payment of dues.
"I have supplied 200 cylinders after the request made by officials," he added.
"Dues exist, but we were not serving the hospital oxygen since March" he clarified.
In more embarrassment for the state government, it has come to light that the staff of the Central Oxygen Pipeline Plant had written to the head of the paediatrics department of the hospital warning them of dwindling oxygen stock.
They had forewarned that the shortage could hit the patients admitted in various wards, specially the children.
However, it appears that the warning fell on deaf ears and that no advance arrangements were made for the oxygen.