Manipur HC finds recommendations in central team’s interim report on COVID-19 'unsatisfactory'
The court directed the central government to draw up detailed recommendations based on the findings of the team and communicate the same to the state government immediately so as to enable it to take appropriate measures in terms thereof.
The Manipur High Court on Thursday found recommendations in the central team’s interim report unsatisfactory as they were reportedly found falling far short of the required standard.
As directed earlier, the central government had submitted the interim report made by a two-member central team which visited the state to study the conditions contributing to a higher incidence of Covid-19 cases in the state.
However, a division bench of the high court comprising chief justice Sanjay Kumar and justice Kh Nobin was left unsatisfied with the report as it was reportedly neither signed nor dated; it was not even addressed to anyone in particular and not made available to the state government.
The division bench also noted that the recommendations, nine in number, made by the team did not even spell out in clear terms as to what steps had to be taken by the state government to address each of the issues highlighted.
“Making general and vague recommendations would not achieve the desired result as the very purpose of the two-member team, deputed by the central government, coming to Manipur for physical inspection was to study the ground realities being obtained here so as to make concrete proposals and recommendations for improving the situation.
“However, the recommendations set out in the interim report fall far short of the required standard,” the court's order mentioned.
In this regard, the division bench directed the central government to draw up detailed recommendations based on the findings of the team and communicate the same to the state government immediately so as to enable it to take appropriate measures in terms thereof.
It also directed the principal secretary (Health) to assist a video-conference hearing of a PIL for providing information on all the steps that have been taken and the steps that are proposed to be taken in the context of this pandemic.
During the hearing of the PIL that was filed, seeking the court's direction to procure sufficient oxygen and ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, the division bench issued the direction after taking serious note of the alleged lack of proper communication between the Centre and the state government.
The division bench also directed the state government to independently assess as to what is required to be done to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic and disclose its action plan to meet the future challenges that may arise in the event of a third wave.
Noting that several villages in the state are situated in remote hilly areas, and it would not be possible for the residents of such villages to physically access the vaccination centres that may be located at the district headquarters, the court stated that in such a situation the state government has to provide vaccination facilities at the door-steps, instead of requiring the beneficiaries to come forward on their own and travel long distances.
It also asked the state government to disclose whether any such steps are being taken, during the next date of hearing.
It further asked the state government to explain as to what measures are being taken to educate people about the advantages of getting vaccinated and how their fears and apprehensions as to the possible side effects are being allayed.
As pointed out by the central government’s team that the treatment of Covid patients in hospitals is falling short due to the failure of senior faculty members to participate in the treatment process, the division bench stated that the matter shall also be addressed by the principal secretary (Health) on the next date of hearing.
Similarly, the recommendation with regard to establishing an integrated command system may also be referred to by giving full details of what steps have been taken to set up centralised state machinery to attend to all Covid related issues, the division bench stated.
After noting that the opening of ICU/HDU beds in some district hospitals and some selected CHCs are still being studied, the court also asked the state government to explain the steps that have been taken pursuant to such studies.
Questioning the central government to ascertain as to why 12 out of the promised 16 oxygen plants have not yet been established and commissioned in the state, it further asked the central government to file the status and stage of the pending projects in relation to these 12 oxygen plants. Lastly, the court fixed July 29 for the next date of hearing.