The Manipur High Court also directed the Manipur Government to inform the general public, through media, the data of the number of beds, number of ICU beds, number of presently admitted patients, present requirement of oxygen cylinders, etc of all the government hospitals and private hospitals.
High Court of Manipur asserted that the state government must “necessarily formulate an action plan” to meet the challenges of a possible future wave of the pandemic. It is not enough for the state government to respond by taking measures after the event and it must necessarily equip itself so as to be in a state of preparedness, in anticipation of all such challenges that may arise. As on date, the state government is yet to disclose any such action plan, it added.
The High Court gave the observation while hearing a PIL filed by one Naresh Maimom regarding the Oxygen crisis in the state caused by the raging second wave of COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday.
The Manipur High Court also directed the Manipur Government to inform the general public, through media, the data, in tabulated form every three day, indicating the hospital-wise number of beds, number of ICU beds, number of presently admitted patients, present requirement of oxygen cylinders, etc in respect of all the government hospitals and private hospitals.
In this regard, the reply filed by the state authorities indicated that information pertaining to various pandemic related issues is being put up only on the websites concerned and is not being published in newspapers due to “financial constraints”. The press releases issued by the state government may or may not be reported by the newspapers in full and proper form.
The High Court instructed the state government to examine whether it can issue appropriate orders to see that newspapers disseminate information in this regard, free of cost and without insisting upon payment for publication of such updates and reports.
The court was informed that, apart from the 2,691 Oxygen cylinders provided by the Central Government, numerous oxygen cylinders were donated by various private organisations. However, the court observed that no data placed is on record as to the total number of Oxygen cylinders presently in use in the state and the medical facility-wise utilisation thereof. An additional affidavit was sought from the Health Department of the state indicating these details.
The additional advocate general of Manipur stated that the government is still facing shortage of Oxygen cylinders. The court asserted that it is incumbent upon the Central Government to look into this issue as only 2,691 oxygen cylinders have been provided till date to the state, which has a population of over 33 lakh.
The High Court also maintained that additional affidavit to be filed by the state shall also address the issue as to whether any communication has been addressed by the state government to the Central Government indicating the further requirement of Oxygen cylinders and as to whether any more financial assistance, in the form of material or otherwise, has been sought. If so, the Central Government shall also file an additional reply affidavit indicating the steps taken by it pursuant to such communications received from the state government, the court said and added that if there is further requirement of medical infrastructure, a suitable request can now be made to the Central Government.
The order also mentioned that the additional affidavit to be filed by the state government shall also address the issue as to how the 24 COVID Care Centres, established across the state, are being monitored. To this, the additional advocate general of Manipur asserted that teams are being constituted by the chief medical officers of respective districts, where these centres are situated, to randomly visit and check the operation and functioning of the centres. Details in this regard were sought by the court and instructed to be furnished. The next hearing has been set on June 15, 2021.