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HC seeks detailed report from Punjab, Haryana on Covid spread in rural belt

The division bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh directed the Punjab to file affidavit by an officer not below the rank of Principal Secretary, Health. The matter has now been adjourned for hearing for May 18.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
May 13, 2021 1:24:29 am
A Family Member is taking a COVID-19 Patient to Government Rajindra Hospital in an Auto Rickshaw in Patiala on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

Concerned over the spread of Covid-19 in the rural areas, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought a report from Punjab and Haryana governments detailing steps being taken to combat the virus in rural belt.

The division bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh directed the Punjab to file affidavit by an officer not below the rank of Principal Secretary, Health. The matter has now been adjourned for hearing for May 18.

Haryana has been asked to submit a report by an officer not below the rank of Additional Chief Secretary, Health.

During the resumed proceedings of the case on Wednesday, Advocate General of Haryana, Baldev Raj Mahajan, did submit that a plan has been drawn up and Senior Administrative Officer has been deputed for every District in Haryana to monitor the situation and also physical inspection in all rural areas/districts is being carried out.

Meanwhile, Punjab Advocate General, Atul Nanda, brought to the notice of the HC that 82 ventilators have been supplied to Punjab by Centre, out of which 71 are faulty. Nanda further submitted that 24 oxygen containers are available with them. The state has raised a demand for more.

About 85,000 injections of Remdesivir have been supplied whereas demand of 37,000 injections is still pending, he added. He further submitted that Punjab needs about 4 lakh vials of Covishield vaccine immediately.

Meanwhile, Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, in regards of 71 faulty ventilators to Punjab, submitted that the matter will be examined immediately and necessary steps taken for rectifying the fault, if any, at the earliest.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Amicus Curiae, Senior Advocate Rupinder Khosla, emphasised the need for more ventilators in GMSH-16, Chandigarh.

Khosla pointed that only six ventilators are functional at the moment and the hospital is facing difficulty in view of large number of patients pouring in for medical help.

Vaccine wastage

Apart from this, Khosla also highlighted that there is wastage of vials which are opened for vaccination in all the three states, which he said needs to be avoided at all costs as the country is facing paucity of vaccine after the eligible age group has been lowered to 18 years. As per Khosla, in Himachal Pradesh, no such vaccine wastage has been reported.

The court was also informed that shelf life of vial once opened is about four hours. If requisite number of persons to be vaccinated are not available within this time period, rest of the quantity normally goes waste. Khosla also referred to the ambulance facilities being provided by the government which are over burdened. As a result, certain private parties are providing this facility but at a higher cost, making it a business venture.

A query was put by HC to Haryana AG about the wastage of vaccine, if any, in Haryana. Mahajan submitted that a cap has been put on the rates/charges of treatment by private hospitals and they are being closely monitored. Mahajan further said that he shall respond to this query on vaccine wastage on the next date of hearing.

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