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‘Infant deaths row conspiracy to help private hospitals’


Thiruvananthapuram : Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinnarayi Vijayan Saturday said the row over the death of 38 newborns in a government-run hospital here was a "conspiracy" by the opposition to help the private hospital lobby.

He said the issue had been kicked up by the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front and a senior official of the Indian Medical Association.

"This is a conspiracy hatched to help the private hospital lobby. Through this negative campaign, the government hospital will lose out to private hospitals," Vijayan said at a meeting in Pathanamthitta.

A court had Thursday charged state Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi and seven others for culpable homicide not amounting to murder over the infant deaths at the Sree Avittam Tirunal (SAT) Hospital in the last two months. A special police team has begun to probe the deaths.

Meanwhile, state Law Minister M. Vijaykumar criticised the manner in which the court registered a case against Sreemathi.

"It was most unfortunate that the court went ahead without proper investigation into the issues and straightaway pointed a finger at the health minister," said Vijaykumar.

On Wednesday, the hospital's superintendent was removed for not informing the state government about the deaths. The hospital is attached to Kerala's premier Medical College Hospital here.

After the hue and cry over the deaths, the health department swung into action and has come out with an advertisement to recruit 50 nurses and other para medical staff and a walk-in interview on Monday.

The SAT hospital is plagued by a serious staff shortage.