Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Friday pulled up the state government for not doing enough in dealing with the second wave of Covid-19.
The court asked the state government why there were no curbs on election rallies when similar restrictions were in force on weddings and funeral ceremonies. "How is it that elections are exempted from Covid-19 restrictions?" the court asked.
A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy also referred to allegations that the data of deaths declared by the state the government was far from realistic.
The court directed the Principal Home Secretary to file a status report by Tuesday with details of how it was planning administration of the vaccine to inmates of prisons and old age homes along with the destitute in shelter homes and open places. The plan of action should be presented to the court by Monday.
"It appears that the details submitted by the government on Covid testing, availability of beds, oxygen, medicines, and mortality rate are a sackful of salt, window-dressing, and fudged numbers. On one hand, the secretary of medical and health appeared before the court two days ago and said the hospitals were fully equipped with beds, infrastructure, oxygen, and life-saving medicines to treat the infected. On other hand, your health minister says there is a deficiency of more than 120 tonnes of oxygen in the state due to the (unhelpful) attitude of the Union government. Which of these contentions should be trusted?" Chief Justice Kohli said.
The CJ said the government might be looking at things in terms of revenues and expenses. "Here the life of the citizens of the state is in danger, it should be given utmost importance," she said.
The bench was dealing with a batch of petitions related to Covid management.
"Why cannot the administration work when this court is working late in the night to hand over its orders to the State so that it can implement the directions?" Chief Justice Hima Kohli said.
She said the First Court (bench headed by CJ) would work during summer vacation and keep a tab on steps taken by the State to address people's woes during the pandemic. "...because the lives of the citizen and their health are important to the court".
The bench expressed dissatisfaction over the government for not ramping up RT PCR tests despite the specific direction issued during the previous hearing. Barring GHMC and surrounding districts, RT PCR tests were done on a much lower scale.
In majority of districts, Rapid Antigen tests (RaT) constituted 80% of tests, the bench said. Expressing concern over the 198 deaths due to COVID19 in the past few days, the bench directed the government to ramp up RT PCR tests in Nirmal, Nizamabad, Yadadri Bhongir, Mancherial and Kama Reddy districts.
"You (Union government) take over the vaccines and medicines manufactured in the state. You don't give to the state what it requires and dole these out to the other states. In the last 10 days, only 21,500 Remdesivir vials were distributed to Telangana, whereas the demand is very high. We need an answer from the Central government," the CJ said.