HC raps MP govt on oxygen supply, asks Centre to raise quota

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Jabalpur, May 1 (PTI)The Madhya Pradesh High Court expressed unhappiness with the state government's submission on efforts to procure medical oxygen amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and asked the Centre to raise the supply quota for the state by 100 metric tons.

The detailed order of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan of Friday was made available on the HC website on Saturday.

'There have been several incidents in the past two weeks in which people have lost their lives only because of sudden disruption or low-pressure in supply of oxygen or due to non-availability of oxygen, as per newspaper reports,' the HC said, adding that 'oxygen and Remdesivir continue to be two major problems' for the state government.

The state government had filed an action taken report (ATR) with respect to various directives issued on April 19 by HC.

'We are constrained to record that most of the significant directions issued by this court in its order of April 19, mainly in respect of continuous and regular supply of oxygen and Remdesivir to the government as well as private hospitals, nursing homes have have not been fully complied,' the HC observed.

It directed the MP government to consider increasing the RT-PCR test sample collection in four slots from two in a day.

'What has been contended before us is that most of the private hospitals are refusing to admit corona patients for the reason of non-availability of oxygen, and now with every passing day, it is becoming difficult for COVID patients to get admission in either government or private hospitals,' it said.

The HC asked the state government to have a re-look at its distribution policy of Remdesivir so that the medicine becomes available to the common man at a reasonable price.

In response to a court's query regarding 100 MT more oxygen for MP, Assistant Solicitor General JK Jain sought time to seek instructions from the government.

The court is hearing a bunch of petitions, including a suo motu one, with respect to treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Amicus curiae and senior advocate Naman Nagrath told court the state government had failed to manage continuous and regular supply of oxygen and Remdesivir injection, adding that the action plan submitted by it on availability of oxygen was far from reality.

He said there is accumulation of medical waste like PPE kits, masks and other items in all major cities, including Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, and showed clippings of newspaper reports.

The amicus curiae as well as counsels appearing for interveners said, despite specific direction by HC, private hospitals were refusing to admit and treat patients who are entitled to cashless treatment facility.

The HC said hospitals approved for treatment of patients covered by cashless schemes of the government shall not refuse to provide treatment, and action must be taken in case complaints come in on this front.

It also asked the state government and the MP State Pollution Control Board to undertake a special drive for disposal of bio-medical waste in accordance with provisions of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998 and submit a compliance report on it. PTI COR LAL BNM BNM