Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 7
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to consider the rollout of oxygen-fitted auto ambulance service for patients.
The Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh also asked the two states and the UT to consider the setting up of an unified command centre for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali “as the working and business class have their workplace or residence in either of the three cities”.
As the Covid management and control case came up for resumed hearing this morning, the Bench referred to media reports on some states activating auto ambulances. “The states may ascertain veracity of such reports and consider whether such citizen-friendly exercise can be undertaken by outsourcing, if necessary,” the Bench added.
Speaking for the Bench on the issue of the unified command centre, Justice Gupta asserted the three cities were now integrated as a tricity. It might be easier to tackle the present crisis in case a joint strategy was drawn up. “In a situation like the one created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the paramount consideration with the governments should be of helping every human being, irrespective of the state to which he belongs,” said Justice Gupta.
Justice Gupta added parochial or other considerations should not stand in the way of better administration and implementation of the policies. It would be easier to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic if there was a common platform to deliberate upon the strategies to be adopted. Appearing before the Bench, UT senior standing counsel Pankaj Jain and amicus curiae Rupinder Khosla pointed out that the supply of Covid-related drugs through private chemists had already been withdrawn in view of the Court’s previous order.
Jain added the control and supply of drugs such as remdesivir and tocilizumab had been taken over by the Director, Health Service, Chandigarh, and hoarding, etc., had been considerably curbed.
“A query has, however, been put to him whether these drugs can also be provided through a government-controlled drug centre, preferably at the GMSH-16, which is centrally located, on a payment basis against prescription, he submits that this issue shall also be examined today itself,” Justice Gupta added.
Before parting with the order today, the Court appreciated the philanthropic organisations for taking upon themselves the daunting task of serving and taking care of the patients by risking their own lives.
“At the same time, there are others who have acted as predators looking for an opportunity to fleece people even in this crisis. This Court gives the liberty to the states to act sternly against such culprits and take strict action,” Justice Gupta concluded.
‘Act sternly against culprits’
“At the same time, there are others who have acted as predators looking for an opportunity to fleece people even in this crisis. This court gives the liberty to the states to act sternly against such culprits and take strict action,” said Justice Rajan Gupta.
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