Gandhinagar, April 12 (IANS) The Gujarat High Court on Monday pulled up the state government for having such a system that put entire control of remdesivir injections under one agency, asking why was the crucial anti-Covid medicine not made available for everybody.
It also suggested that the government set up accountability at every booth level to keep a check on the outbreak.
In wake of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state and the worsening situation in healthcare facilities, the high court had taken a suo moto cognizance of the issue and filed a PIL, titled ‘Uncontrolled upsurge and serious management issues in Covid control’, with the Central and state governments made respondents.
The bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav D. Karia, set up to hear the matter, heard Advocate General, Kamal Trivedi, on behalf of the state government and posed a salvo of questions on various fronts due to which the present uncontrolled situation arose.
“Initially, when the pandemic struck last year, people were advised to home quarantine and also get treated at home. Now why have you changed it and insist on hospitalisation? Why are you insisting that remdesivir should only be available at hospitals and not for home patients quarantined who require the injections? Why is it not being available at all the hospitals? Why is it not available for anyone who needs it? Controlling these injections by supply from one outsourced agency is not at all in public interest,” it said.
Accusing hospitals of exploiting the situation, the court said: “We have come to know that hospitals have refused to admit patients despite having beds available.”
The court also noted that “right now it takes 5 to 7 days for a common man to get himself RT-PCR tested. By the time he or she gets results, has infected a lot many others”.
“Why is it taking so long? We advise ramping up the testing facilities and centres,” it said.
As the court asked the government what steps were taken to ensure the reduction of staff in various offices, the Advocate General said that only the paan shop owners association had come forward and voluntarily had decided to shut down for the weekends.
“Then they are acting with more wisdom and responsibility,” the court observed.
The court also stressed that fighting this pandemic was impossible without the cooperation of people, but “the people had lost trust in administration”.
“We are not happy with many of the policies of the government and there are some things which need to be corrected. At least people should feel that government is doing something. At present there is a total deficit in trust of people in the administration. That trust should be restored,” it maintained.
The court also suggested reducing the number of people allowed in marriage functions from 100 to 50.
Justice Karia also suggested that just like during the election process, booth level micro level planning be done and a booth level official should be assigned accountability over a particular booth’s Covid situation.
The bench also asked the Central government to assist the state government to fight the pandemic as it scheduled the next hearing on Thursday, when both governments are expected to come up with plans and steps taken as advised by the court, as they have asked to submit these by Wednesday evening.
On Sunday, Chief Justice Vikram Nath had observed that Gujarat was heading towards a health emergency, as he ordered that the PIL be filed.