Four newborn babies died in the special neonatal care unit (SNCU) of a government hospital in Chhattisgarh's Surguja district today, prompting the state government to order a probe, an official said.
The deaths occurred between 5.30 am and 8.30 am at the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH) in Ambikapur, around 300 km from capital Raipur, collector Kundan Kumar told reporters.
While the kin of the deceased infants claimed that the babies, two of whom were on ventilator support, died as a result of a power outage in the hospital, the administration has maintained that the deaths can't be linked to the power cut.
"The four babies were in a critical condition and were admitted in the special neonatal care unit (SNCU) of the hospital. Of them, two were on ventilator support," the collector said.
As per preliminary information, there was a fluctuation in the power supply in the hospital between 1 am and 1.30 am, which was rectified in a short while. However, such a fluctuation does not affect the SNCU, as it has alternate power supply, which was functioning, he said.
At least 30 to 35 children are undergoing treatment in the SNCU, the official said.
A detailed investigation into the matter is underway, following which the exact cause of deaths will be known, he said, adding that the medical report of the four infants will soon be released by the hospital.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister TS Singh Deo has directed the health secretary to constitute a team to probe the incident.
"After learning about the death of four infants in Ambikapur Medical College Hospital, I have asked the health secretary to constitute a probe team and send it to the spot for an enquiry. I have also apprised Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel," Singh Deo said in a video statement.
The minister said he will be reaching Ambikapur in a helicopter this afternoon and will visit the hospital.
He has also directed officials to take stern action if necessary into the matter.
Parents of the deceased infants have alleged that the power supply in the hospital was disrupted for more than three hours in the night, and accused the hospital staff of negligence.
Expressing grief over the incident, Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uikey directed the state government to take appropriate action into it after investigating the cause of deaths and ensure relief to the kin of the deceased babies.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)