COVID-19:High court reprimands Uttarakhand govt for lack of preparedness to deal with third wave

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Nainital, Jun 23 (PTI)The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday reprimanded the state government for the manner in which it was preparing to deal with the third wave of COVID-19 and asked it to gear up for Delta Plus mutant of the pandemic which according to experts spreads faster than any other variant. “Stop fooling us and tell us the truth. Don't tell the Chief Justice that there is Ram Rajya in Uttarakhand and that we live in heaven. Show us the ground realities,” the high court said.

Reprimanding Health Secretary Amit Negi while hearing a PIL related to the Uttarakhand government's handling of COVID-19, a division bench comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma said the Delta Plus variant of COVID will not sit back and wait for the government to get ready.

'The Delta Plus variant may spread within the next three months. The variant has already reached Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala', it said and also criticised the state government in fighting a double war with Corona and Black Fungus together.

The bench said the state government should tell about the ground realities keeping in mind all aspect of preparedness like ICUs, beds, oxygen concentrators and ambulances for children in the state.

'Will the government wake from its slumber when our children start dying in the third wave?' the court asked and directed the Health secretary to file an affidavit detailing preparatory steps taken by the government with regard to Children. The bench also expressed its displeasure upon the Health Secretary's advice of administering Vitamin C and Zinc to children for three months in preparation for the third wave.

It asked whether the process of buying medicines will be complete after the third wave strikes and also reprimanded the government for its mismanagement of black fungus.

“Keep in mind that we are fighting a double war with Corona and Black Fungus together and the state of your preparations is not hidden from anyone,” it said.

The Court further commented that while there is a need to work on a war footing during the epidemic, bureaucratic hurdles are being created to delay processes.

The Court also asked how 10 ventilators will suffice for children to fight the third wave in Dehradun. Similarly it also asked as to what is being done about 9 out of 11 defective ventilators in Rudraprayag. The Court further expressed its concern about districts like Bageshwar, Champawat and Almora and the preparedness and accessibility to hospitals in the face of a third wave of Corona.

It also questioned the Government on its claim of having adequate ambulances. 'Ambulance services are not adequate even in Delhi-Faridabad and you claim to have enough ambulances in Uttarakhand. There are reports everyday that pregnant women in the mountains do not get ambulances and have to be taken by palanquins,' it said. Making specific observations, the court said Uttarakhand is a state where salaries of roadways drivers and conductors have not been for five months. The Court said there is a need for ambulances with oxygen in them and also directed the state government to file an affidavit giving information about ICUs, beds, oxygen concentrators and ambulances for children in the state.

The Government is to file affidavit giving specific details of various hospitals, facilities and preparedness in case the state faces a third wave of Corona. This will include the accessibility and connectivity of villages and far flung rural areas to Covid equipped hospitals as well.

Next hearing will be held on July 7 and 28 when the Court will be apprised of the decision taken for Chardham Yatra. PTI Corr ALM RKS RKS

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