Constitutional, moral duty of govt to put all efforts to save lives people: U'khand HC on Covid Situation

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand High Court while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Wednesday, considering the Covid 19 situation in the state remarked that the government must put all out efforts to save people’s lives. 

The division bench of Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma while hearing the PIL remarked, “It is Constitutional and moral duty of the government to put all extreme efforts to save lives of its people.” 

The matter which was scheduled for hearing on May 10 was preponed for hearing on Wednesday after Anu Pant, a Dehradun-based activist filed an urgent application in the HC. 

She requested the court to hear the matter given the raging pandemic that is claiming people’s lives in the state. 

The application filed by Anu Pant highlighted that the zero availability of ICU beds in Dehradun has created havoc and a feeling of the apocalyptic collapse of the health care system along with other issues plaguing the people including missing real-time updates with regard to the availability of ICU beds, Ventilator beds, and Oxygen equipped beds. 

Abhijay Negi, counsel for Anu Pant said, “The honorable issued series of directions to combat the raging Covid 19 pandemic including to consider the possibility of using the latest software with the help of other states like Telangana, Rajasthan which are already using it and update number of beds available, oxygen flow meter, etc. on an online portal with an hourly or two hourly updates in the real time data”.

“To increase the number of covid testing so as to in towns like Haldwani Dehradun and Haridwar at least 30000 to 50,000 test per day are conducted for detection of covid-19 virus, to involve all private labs Hospital clinic capable of conducting RTPCR and Rapid antigen test on a war footing, to consider the engagement of qualified and registered dental surgeons for pre-screening purposes in covid duties and to enquire into the complaints of overcharging by ambulances carrying dead bodies and patients and are directed to take strict action against such ambulance operators indulged in overcharging among many others among others.”

Dushyant Mainali, one of the counselors in the matter said, “At present, there are more than 2000 registered dental surgeons in Uttarakhand whose services may be taken for this purpose.”

The bench noting that the number of primary health centers functioning in the state is only 239, directed that the number of PHCs should be increased in the State to a reasonable number. 

Considering that the medical staff should be provided with the protective gears and that the contractual employees at the Sushila Tiwari Government Hospital at Haldwani, who deal with COVID-19 patients, should be prevented from going back home, the court added that the government must consider providing them accommodation within or near about the campus so as to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus amongst their family members. 

The court also directed an appointment of a nodal officer who will act as a bridge between the people and the hospitals and will resolve the problems of the people in getting admission in Covid Care Centres/Health Care Centres/Hospitals. 

To check the black marketing of Remdesivir and other essential medicines, the court directed all the district magistrates to take strict action against such black-marketers in accordance with the law, to take immediate action against the owners of such ambulances in accordance with law. 

The division bench further added that before releasing a dead body, where the person had died due to COVID-19, the dead body is wrapped in bodypack kits, and the SOP for disposal of such a dead body is adhered to by the hospital staff, and by the family members of the deceased.

The bench also directed the state government to increase the number of cremation grounds by declaring certain areas to be temporary cremation grounds and to ensure that sufficient quantity of wood is available in each of such cremation grounds.

They were also instructed to look into the issue of registration for vaccination especially for those, who are 18 years and above and to create an alternate method for online registration with the help of the health authorities in remote areas of the state where internet connection is missing or bad. 

Keeping in mind the problem of disposal of bio-medical waste, both in the hospitals and homes, the bench directed the state government to issue guidelines for the disposal of the said bio-medical waste, both by the medical hospitals and by the individuals at home. Until and unless the bio-medical waste is disposed off in a proper manner, it may itself lead to a wider infection of the disease.