Ensure oxygen plants at RIMS are operational by June end, HC directs Centre
The Centre had informed the court that two oxygen plants are proposed to be commissioned by June 30 at RIMS; however, the counsel of RIMS informed that only 30 per cent of the construction works for installation of the two oxygen plants at RIMS has been completed.
The Manipur High Court on Tuesday directed the Central government to ensure that the two oxygen plants which were allocated recently to RIMS, Imphal are made operational by June end without fail.
The division bench of the high court comprising chief justice Sanjay Kumar and justice Kh Nobin issued the directive during the hearing of a PIL filed before the high court, seeking the court's direction to procure sufficient oxygen and ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
The court further directed the Central government to ensure that copies of all communications addressed to the state government in relation to any issue pertaining to RIMS, Imphal should also be marked to RIMS, Imphal for its information and record.
Earlier, the Central government informed the court that two oxygen plants are proposed to be commissioned by June 30 at RIMS; however, the counsel of RIMS informed during today's hearing that only 30 per cent of the construction works for installation of the two oxygen plants at RIMS has been completed.
Placing on records the copies of letters addressed by RIMS to central government regarding development works of the institute, the counsel of RIMS further informed the court that the Central government is not keeping RIMS informed of developments, and that all communications are being addressed only to the state government.
Meanwhile, the petitioner's counsel pointed out that the material placed on record along with the aforestated additional reply submitted before the court bears out that the state government has addressed letters during April and May to the Central government with regard to its requirement of oxygen cylinders and oxygen plants.
In this regard, the additional solicitor general on behalf of the central government sought time to ascertain as to what steps, if any, have been taken by the Centre after receipt of the aforestated letters and file an additional reply elaborating on the steps so taken.
The ASG further submitted that all the aspects raised by RIMS will also be addressed in the additional reply affidavit, which would be filed by the next date of hearing.
On the other hand, the petitioner's counsel pointed out that according to the additional affidavit filed by the state government, there are no ICU beds available in several districts of Manipur such as Tamenglong , Kamjong, Noney, Kangpokpi and others as per the status report of the patients in Covid hospitals and CHCs or PHCs of Manipur as on July 12.
He further submitted that it would be difficult to transport emergency Covid patients from far-flung places to the nearest ICU facility and the state government needs to address this aspect.
In this regard, the division bench stated that, “additional advocate general (AAG) shall get instructions as to whether this issue has already been addressed, and if so, detail the steps taken for alleviating the plight of COVID-19 patients in distant locations requiring ICU facilities on an emergency basis.”
The court also directed the AAG to ascertain as to how the data of the unavailability of ICU bed is being disseminated to the public at large and the details thereof.
Stating that all the additional affidavits should be filed by July 5, the court had fixed July 6 for the next hearing of the PIL.