Manipur government directed to publish periodic update of oxygen supplies in newspapers
The Manipur HC also directed that the state government should also indicate the steps taken to put in place a long-term plan for meeting future challenges to combat the pandemic.
The High Court of Manipur has directed the state government to take up steps for publication of periodic updates of oxygen supplies and utilisation in all the hospitals across the state through the newspapers.
Division bench of the high court comprising chief justice Sanjay Kumar and justice Kh Nobin issued the directive on Thursday during the hearing of a PIL filed before the high court, seeking its direction to procure sufficient oxygen and ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
The division bench also directed that the state government should also indicate the steps taken to put in place a long-term plan for meeting future challenges to combat the pandemic, in its next additional reply affidavit.
It further directed that the ‘Audit Sub-Group on Medical Oxygen’ constituted by the state government shall undertake collection of the requisite data in respect of all the aspects pertaining to the pandemic so that the same is made available to the National Task Force for effective planning and implementation of the future course of action.
“Unless the state administration is in a state of preparedness, it would be difficult for the authorities to adequately address and cope with the fresh challenges that may come up in future owing to mutation of coronavirus, compounded by the lack of care and foolhardiness of the general public, who continue to ignore Covid protocols and the prescribed standard operating procedures despite the imposition of curfew across the State,” the court order stated.
It further stated that effective measures have to be taken in this regard by the state duly balancing and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens.
During the hearing, the additional solicitor general (ASG) on behalf of the central government produced a copy of a letter he received from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, adverting to the allocation of three PSA oxygen plants to Manipur (JNIMS; District Hospital, Churachandpur and the District Hospital, Thoubal) and also the allocation of 354 D-Type cylinders and 1837 B-Type cylinders to the state.
Following the production of the copy of the letter, the ASG sought more time to file a reply affidavit.
In regards to the prayer, the division bench stated that the reply affidavit shall detail the measures taken by the National Task Force, address the issues raised by RIMS and more particularly, the financial assistance to be extended to Manipur to meet this crisis.
The advocate general on behalf of the state government also submitted that the oxygen plant in Churachandpur has been commissioned, and is now operative and that the oxygen plant in Thoubal would be commissioned by the end of this month.
The division bench after learning that telephone numbers or mobile numbers to access to Grievance Redressal Cells of the different hospitals in the state were not made available to the public, it had directed the authority concerned to do the needful before the next date of hearing of the PIL which is fixed on June 2 and to submit its details.