New Delhi: The rising number of infant deaths in Kota did not stop state and hospital authorities from organising a grand welcome, rolling out a green carpet for Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma who visited the JK Lon Hospital on Friday. It must be noted that the death toll of newborns in Kota mounted to 107 on Saturday.

Although the carpet was removed shortly before his arrival, it was too late as the decision already stirred a row by the opposition BJP and others.

On the knowledge of the welcome preparations, the minister immediately directed the officials to not make any such arrangements as it was an unfortunate event that he was visiting, Sharma said speaking to reporters.

The hospital management had taken several measures for the health minister’s visit including repair of damaged portions of the hospital, whitewashing the walls, cleaning of the entire premises, as well as removal of at least 50 stray pigs from the premises. A double-check was done on all equipment and dysfunctional room heaters and lights were also replaced in the children’s wards.

Instead of taking holding accountable for rising deaths, the hospital authorities, however, defended stating the number of deaths reported in 2019 has witnessed a decline since 2014 when a total of 1,198 children died.

Notably, the central government had directed a team fo experts to the Kota hospital to take cognisance of the matter. Lok Sabha Speaker and Kota MP, Om Birla, also met the family members of one of the deceased infants earlier today.

At the same time, former NCW chief Mamta Sharma hit out at Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government holding him responsible for the death of newborns and demanded the government’s dismissal.