The Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave the central and the state investigation agencies the liberty to act against hoarders as it permitted the revival of a diposed of petition on Covid management
Holding a marathon hearing spread over two sessions, the Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted: “Here is a situation where the question is of Article 21. There is a feeling that drugs are being hoarded, beds are not available and people are dying….The grievances of the people have to be redressed. Very serious issues have been brought to the court’s notice. Life saving drugs, such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, are not available. ICU beds are in short supply.”
Justice Gupta asserted nodal agencies were existent in every district, but no one knew where to go. “There has to be some machinery, some mechanism. By the time the person is able to get through, the patient becomes critical.”
Nearly 15 months into the pandemic, the hearing also brought to surface lack of preparedness to deal with the issues arising out of it.
Haryana Additional Chief Secretary Rajeev Arora submitted the total production of oxygen from five plants sanctioned to the state under the PM Cares Fund was miniscule (less than 1 MT per plant). Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan added the availability of oxygen was not in the state’s hand. It was allocated by the Centre.
Referring to issues such as ventilators, Justice Gupta added the Health Department must be looking into it. “But there appears to be some disconnect. In policy matters, we do not like to give our opinion. But here it is a complete chaos,” he said.
Visibly unimpressed by the state’s measure of coming out with portals and mobile application, Justice Gupta asserted things were not easy for the people living in the remote areas. They were not as computer savvy as others.
Read Order here: