Hearing on public interest litigations regarding the condition of state’s health services amidst the Covid pandemic, the Uttarakhand high court issued a number of directions to the State government. The court expressed dissatisfaction at the affidavit submitted by the health secretary Amit Singh Negi and directed him to submit again by May 20.
Hearing the PILs via video conferencing, the division bench of chief justice RS Chauhan and justice Alok Kumar Verma observed that the doctors, nurses, other medical staff and sanitation workers had done a commendable job in the past year amid shortage of resources. The high court directed the state government to increase the number of Covid testing laboratories and seek permission from the ICMR to start mobile testing services in mountainous regions. The state should consider turning the colleges which are closed into Covid care centres.The number of ICU beds in Haridwar, Haldwani and Dehradun should be increased while health centres should be opened on a war footing in smaller cities like Ramnagar. The court further said that the State government should seek permission from the Centre to directly import oxygen concentrators from abroad. The nodal officer concerned should take action against black marketing of medicines and hospitals overcharging patients, and submit a report in the court by May 20. The court further said that most vaccination centres have been opened in hospitals from where they should be shifted to other locations so that the people do not hesitate due to crowds. The state government was also directed to consider turning the TB sanatorium in Bhawali into a Covid hospital. The court also directed the state government to expedite the appointment of doctors and nurses considering the Covid situation.
It will be recalled that advocate Dushyant Mainali and Dehradun resident Sacchidanand Dabral had filed PILs regarding the condition of quarantine centres and Covid hospitals in the state along with related issues.