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HC seeks govt’s response on plea seeking full-fledged testing facilities in non-red zones

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde, which heard the plea on May 22 through videoconference, directed government counsel Priyabhushan Kakade to respond to the petition in the next hearing.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
May 25, 2020 10:33:21 pm
Mumbai, Mumbai coronavirus, Mumbai covid 19, Mumbai coronavirus testing, Mumbai news, Bombay High Court, coronavirus, indian covid-19, red zones, express Appearing for the fisherman, advocate Rakesh Bhatkar said since the Covid-19 outbreak, Ratnagiri reported only seven cases, including two deaths. (Representational image)

The Bombay High Court has sought the response of the state government to a plea filed by a fisherman seeking full-fledged Covid-19 testing facilities in non-red zones, including Ratnagiri, in the light of thousands of stranded migrant workers returning home from red zones such as Mumbai and Pune.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde, which heard the plea on May 22 through videoconference, directed government counsel Priyabhushan Kakade to respond to the petition in the next hearing.

In his petition, Khalil Ahmad Hasanmiya Wasta, a 58-year-old fisherman, claimed that if migrants, returning from red zone areas like Mumbai and Pune to Ratnagiri district, were not tested properly due to lack of facilities, it would endanger the lives of local residents.

Appearing for the fisherman, advocate Rakesh Bhatkar said since the Covid-19 outbreak, Ratnagiri reported only seven cases, including two deaths. Till May, all positive cases were cured. However, with migrants entering the district, nearly 108 Covid-19 cases have been found in Ratnagiri, the petition claimed.

However, with authorities granting permission for intra-state travel for stranded students, pilgrims as well workers, the facilities with local administrations are insufficient, the petitioner claimed.

“Thereafter, state authorities issued passes to migrants and 44,531 were allowed to enter Ratnagiri district and nearly 30, 000 people entered without official passes. As per government data, 29,259 persons are under home quarantine. A district having a population of 16.15 lakh has six functioning hospitals, out of which two hospitals are reserved for Covid-19 treatment,” the petition said.

The petition further stated that swab samples from Ratnagiri were sent to a laboratory in Sangli district, which is nearly 237 km away. “This results in a delay in receiving reports and the Miraj Hospital in Sangli, which is also overburdened with samples from nearby districts, is unable to give the reports within stipulated time,” the petition said.

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