Telangana Ambulances Row: Union Home Secy Demands Report, MoS Reddy Says Honour HC Order

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Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy on Saturday said the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla sought a report from the Telangana government after its order restricting ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients without confirmed beds at the state borders sparked a war of words with the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Bhalla spoke to Telangana chief secretary Somesh Kumar and was told why ambulances from other states were being stopped. The centre has taken cognizance of the issue and had strictly ordered the state government officials to issue a circular cancelling its restriction imposed on the inter-state movement.

Reddy opined that stopping ambulances at the borders in a bid to give priority to local Covid patients is not correct amid rising infections. The home secretary also sought clarification as to why the ambulances were stopped at the borders.

“The high court cancelled the circular and the state government has to honour its directive,” the union minister said.

Telangana High Court on Friday issued interim orders staying the government’s order to stop the ambulances at the borders. In a PIL against Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar’s order on May 11 that COVID-19 patients from other states coming to the city should have prior tie-up with hospitals for bed and they need approval from a control room so that police at the borders allow such ambulances; the court said no authorisation from the control room would be required for the patients or their attendants to travel into Telangana state seeking hospitalisation.

The court rapped the Telangana government for violating constitutional norms and the national highways act in the incident.

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