Consider home delivery of oxygen cylinders, says High Court

SDMs can seek police help for proceeding against hoarders

Consider home delivery of oxygen cylinders, says High Court

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked Chandigarh, along with the states of Punjab and Haryana, to consider home delivery of oxygen cylinders, while granting Sub-Divisional Magistrates in the city the liberty to seek police help for proceeding against hoarders.

“Needless to observe that this court expects that the necessary steps are taken at the earliest to ensure that there is no further loss of life due to paucity of oxygen. In case of crisis, however, the state is at liberty to draw from the ‘buffer stock’ of oxygen created under orders of the Supreme Court…,” the Bench asserted.

In its detailed order, the Bench observed that the police, after being sounded by the SDM concerned on hoarding, would swing into action immediately and proceed as the circumstances warrant. “In case of any report on disobedience of orders, punitive action will be considered,” the Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted.

Taking up the Covid management and control case, the Bench added that availability of proper supply to patients on oxygen support at home would reduce the pressure on the Administration, along with government and private hospitals. Advisories had also been issued by the Health Department to he patients to stay at home, if their condition was mild to moderate.

“In such circumstances, even home delivery of oxygen cylinders can be considered by the state, preferably by the municipal authorities, as health personnel are already overburdened. Apart from providing succour to the inflicted public, it shall prevent hoarding of oxygen cylinders,” the Bench observed.

The Bench also took on record an assurance by UT Senior Standing Counsel Pankaj Jain that the SDM of the zone concerned in every sector would be asked to intervene in case of problem regarding availability of oxygen for helping the patients on support at home.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gupta also directed the allocation of a dedicated zone-wise phone line. “It will be widely publicised by way of broadcast on radio, television and assistance of the telephone companies,” Justice Gupta asserted.

Appearing before the Bench through videoconferencing, senior advocate Anupam Gupta pointed at an order dated April 29 passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Among other things, it said a web portal be created by every state/UT to ensure availability of ready information on availability of oxygen, drugs, vaccine, vacant beds in government/private hospitals, and vaccination centres.

He added that there was nothing to show implementation of these directions in letter and spirit by the Chandigarh Administration. “A copy of the application is available with Pankaj Jain. He submits that he shall seek instructions in this regard and apprise the court on the next date of hearing,” Justice Gupta observed.

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