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SC seeks Centre’s action taken report on recommendations of task force on oxygen

The court had on May 6 set up a 12-member NTF, comprising top experts and doctors from across the country, “to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 10, 2021 3:18:41 am
On June 22, the NTF had recommended that India should have strategic reserves of oxygen for 2-3 weeks of consumption on the lines of the arrangements made for petroleum products. (Express File Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

SUPREME COURT Monday sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Centre on the steps taken to implement recommendations of the National Task Force (NTF) set up by it in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, so as to ensure adequate preparedness to meet the situation in the present or forseeable future.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah, which asked the government to place on record the “the reports of the NTF covering all aspects” along with the record “indicating the steps which have been taken to implement the reports of the…Task Force”, also said “the Union of India shall duly apprise this court on affidavit of the steps which have been taken to ensure that the recommendations are duly observed at the policy level in order to enhance preparedness to meet the Covid-19 pandemic for the present and for the foreseeable future”.

It gave the Centre two weeks time for this.

The court had on May 6 set up a 12-member NTF, comprising top experts and doctors from across the country, “to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge”. Among others, the Task Force was also tasked to undertake an oxygen audit for “formulating a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to states and UTs”.

The May 6 order came on a plea by the Centre challenging the contempt notice issued by the Delhi High Court over the issue of non-supply of 700 Metric Tonne medical oxygen to Delhi. While staying the notice, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to remedy any shortage forthwith and to supply Delhi the 700 MT to Delhi.

Subsequently, a sub-group constituted for Delhi’s Oxygen audit “noted gross discrepancy” in actual consumption claimed as against calculated consumption. The former was about four times higher than the later, said the interim report of the sub-group.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing for the Delhi government told the bench Monday that there isno point looking at the interim report thouugh the NCT government had raised objections to its findings and had lots to say in the matter. He expressed the hope that all the concerns will be addressed in the final report.

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