ILNS: With many Covid-19 patients undergoing treatment at home and needing oxygen, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the government to appoint sufficient nodal officers in each city to ensure oxygen supply where it is needed without causing any harassment to anyone.
The High Court had taken suo motu action for initiating this PIL. Monika Kohli, Amicus Curiae in the matter, expressed anxiety that as lawyers – both in the Jammu and Srinagar wings of the high court – are catching Covid-19 every day, and they have not been vaccinated, there is a threat to their lives. This needs to be addressed by getting them vaccinated immediately. She further submitted that families of the lawyers who have died recently due to Covid-19 may be provided some financial assistance.
Pranav Kohli, Senior Counsel assisted by Arun Dev Singh, submitted that some mechanism should be developed so that supply of oxygen to people who are getting treatment at home of their serious ailments or those who have been home quarantined due to non-availability of beds in hospitals, may continue uninterrupted.
Sunil Sethi, Senior Counsel asked for improving the supply of Remdesivir and deficiency of doctors and nursing staff as well as the oxygen to treat Covid patients. The issue of shortage of ventilators was also explained during the hearing.
The Advocate General in response to all the above problems raised by various lawyers filed affidavit signed by Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department dated May 4.
According to the affidavit, there is no shortage of supply of oxygen in the Union Territory rather the supply is adequate and that drugs are also available in adequate amounts to tackle Covid-19 patients. Three oxygen generation plants of 3166 LMO and 6 oxygen plants of 6590 LMO are functional in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. Further 4 plants of 4000 LMO and 17 plants of 30000 LMO would be made functional within 15 days in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, said the affidavit.
The affidavit further states that there is no shortage of beds in the hospitals.
There are 1354 and 1708 total 3062 Covid dedicated beds in the province of Jammu and Kashmir, respectively. The beds with oxygen are 1127 and 1597 total 2724 in Jammu and Kashmir, respectively. The number of ICU beds with ventilators are 227 and 111 total 338 in Jammu and Kashmir respectively. In addition to this tele-consultation is also available for all Covid patients in the Union Territory. In addition to this government has issued the directions that all oxygen plants shall run on full capacity and there shall be no diversion of oxygen to non medical purpose.
It was stated by the Advocate General that the government of Union Territory is taking every conscious step to protect citizens from the deadly disease and that there is no need of panic.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar said, “The Court is conscious of the fact that government is taking due steps for controlling the pandemic and to provide full medical support. The newspaper reports specially one appearing in State Times dated 04.05 .2021 reveals that the government in addition to what has been stated above, has constituted Covid management teams at all levels i.e at District, Tehsil, Block and Panchayat levels consisting of D.C, S.P and CMO or other Senior Officers including the Principal of the concerned medical colleges at district levels. The government has also announced special financial incentives for Covid-19 warriors.”
For the registration and vaccination of lawyers above the age of 45, the Bench directed the Registry of the Court to discuss the issue with the Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education with the help of Advocate General to get some date fixed for the registration of such advocates and thereafter some dates for their vaccination which may be Notified to carry out vaccination in groups either at some suitable place in the High Court Campus or Medical College or Hospital as may be agreed upon. The same exercise be completed within a week beginning from tomorrow i.e 6th of May, 2021, ordered the Court.
In regard to vaccination of lawyers between the age group of 18 to 45, the Court advised to get themselves registered for vaccination online as per the prescribed procedure and once they are registered they will be provided facility of vaccination in a group again on appropriate dates and a suitable place or otherwise they will be given a slot for vaccination on priority at the earliest, if possible within a period of two weeks from the date of registration.