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CWP No. 2795 of 2021

06.05.2021 Present:Mr. B.N. Misra, Senior Advocate, with Ms. Vandana
Misra, Advocate, for the petitioner.

.

Mr. Ashok Sharma, Advocate General, with Mr. Ajay
Vaidya, Sr. Addl. Advocate General, for the
respondents/State.

Mr. Balram Sharma, Assistant Solicitor General of
India, for respondent No. 4.

(Through Video Conferencing)

On the oral request of learned counsel for the

petitioner, Union of India, through its Secretary (Health)

being a necessary as well as a proper party is ordered to be

arrayed as party-respondent and shall figure as respondent

No.4.

2. Notice. Mr. Balram Sharma, learned Assistant

Solicitor General of India, appears and waives service of

notice on behalf of newly added respondent No.4.

3. This writ petitioner has filed this petition as a

pro bono publico for grant of the following reliefs:-

“i. That appropriate directions may kindly be issued
to respondents No.1 and 2 to ensure that all the Covid
patients are provided adequate medical facilities
including beds, medicines and ventilators at the Dr. Y.S.
Parmar Medical College.

ii That the respondents may kindly be directed to
ensure that the Covid patients at Nahan Government
Hospital are properly and regularly attended to and
treated by the doctors and not be left at the mercy of
the medical support staff.

iii). That the respondents may further kindly be
directed to ensure immediate installation and
functioning of the ventilators already supplied and

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available in the Hospital (Respondent No.2).

iv). That Respondent No.2 and every doctor at the

.

hospital may kindly be made personally responsible

and liable to ensure that the critical Covid patients
requiring oxygen are put on ventilators forthwith in

order to prevent further loss of life.

v). That the respondent No.1 may kindly be directed to
complete the installation and functioning of the

existing oxygen manufacturing plant in the Nahan
Medical College premises forthwith from its emergency
fund without waiting for the resolution of the dispute
with the supplier of the said oxygen plant and

machinery.

vi). That appropriate direction may kindly be issued to
Respondent No.3 as the nodal agency to execute and
monitor the financial obligations of the State under

the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

vii). That appropriate directions may kindly be issued

to Respondents No.1 and 2 to designate the Nahan
Medical College as Covid 19 dedicated hospital for the

district.”

4. Due to the unprecedented pandemic, everybody in

the World is suffering in one way or the other. In the words

of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it is a world-war against

Covid-19 and there has to be a Government-Public

partnership to fight world-war against Covid-19.

5. Reference in this regard can be made to the order

dated 18.12.2020 passed by Hon’ble Three Judges Bench of

the Hon’ble Supreme Court In Re: “The proper Treatment

of Covid 19 Patients and dignified handling of Dead

Bodies in the Hospitals etc: Suo Motu Writ Petition

(Civil) No.7 of 2020”, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court

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further held that right to health is a fundamental right

.

guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India

which includes affordable treatment. It was also held that it

was the duty of the State to make provisions for affordable

treatment and more and more provisions in the hospitals to

be run by the State and/or by the Local Administration are

made.

6. It shall
r be to
apposite to refer

observations made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court which
to the relevant

read as under:-

“5. Due to unprecedented Pandemic, everybody in the

world is suffering, one way or the other. It is a world war
against COVID-19. Therefore, there shall be Government

Public Partnership to avoid world war against COVID-19.

6. Right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed
under
Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Right to

health includes affordable treatment. Therefore, it is
the duty upon the State to make provisions for
affordable treatment and more and more provisions in
the hospitals to be run by the State and/or local
administration are made. It cannot be disputed that for
whatever reasons the treatment has become costlier and
costlier and it is not affordable to the common people at
all. Even if one survives from COVID-19, many times
financially and economically he is finished. Therefore,
either more and more provisions are to be made by the
State Government and the local administration or there
shall be cap on the fees charged by the private hospitals,
which can be in exercise of the powers under the
Disaster Management Act.

7. Despite the Guidelines and SOPs issued, for lack of

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implementation the Pandemic has spread like wild fire. A

.

strict and stern action should be taken against those who

are violating the Guidelines and SOPs, whoever he may
be and whatever position the violator is occupying.

8. Every State must act vigilantly and to work with the
Centre harmoniously. It is the time to rise to the
occasion. Safety and health of the citizens must be the

first priority, rather than any other considerations.

9. People should understand their duty and follow

rules very strictly. It is the duty of every citizen to

perform their fundamental duties as guaranteed under
the Constitution of India. By not following the
Guidelines/SOPs issued by the State from time to time,

such as, not wearing the masks, not keeping social
distances, to participate in the gatherings and the
celebrations without maintaining social distances,they

are ultimately not damaging themselves but they cause

damage to the others also. They cannot be permitted to
play with the lives of the others and they cannot be
permitted to infringe the rights of other citizens,like right

to health guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution
of India.

10. There is a need to help and guide our people to
implement the guidelines and the SOPs issued by the
Government, either the Union or the State, such
as,wearing of masks, keeping the social distance etc. In
many States, despite the huge fine recovered, such
as,Rs. 80 to 90 crores in the State of Gujarat alone,
people are not following the guidelines and the SOPs.
There must be a strict implementation by the authorities
so as to ensure that the SOPs and the guidelines issued
from time to time are strictly adhered to and followed by
the people. Additional Chief Secretary (Home)/Secretary
(Home) of respective States shall ensure the strict

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implementation of the SOPs and the guidelines with the

.

help of the concerned Superintendent of Police/ District

Superintendent of Police and the Police In-charge of the
concerned police station.

11. We have already issued various directions with
regard to measures to be taken to contain the Covid-19.
We once again reiterate the State to issue necessary

directions with regard to following measures so as to
effectively monitor and supervise the implementation of
various SOPs and guidelines.

i) More and more police personnel shall be
deployed at the places where there is likelihood of
gathering by the people, such as, Food Courts,
Eateries, Vegetable Markets (Wholesale or Retail),
sabzi Mandies,bus stations, railway stations,

street vendors, etc.

ii) As far as possible, unless must, no permission

shall be granted by the local administration or the
Collector/DSP for celebration/gathering even
during the day hours and wherever the

permissions are granted, the local administration/
DSP/Collector/Police In-charge of the
local police station shall ensure the strict

compliance of the Guidelines/SOPs. There should
be a mechanism to check the number of people
attending such function/gathering, such as, the
particulars with respect to how many persons are
going to attend the celebration/gathering, timings
during which the celebration/gathering is to take
place etc.

iii) There shall be more and more testing and to
declare the correct facts and figures. One must be
transparent in number of testing and declaring the
facts and figures of the persons who are Corona
Positive. Otherwise, the people will be misled and
they will be under impression that everything is all
right and they will become negligent.

iv) Whenever directions are issued under the
Disaster Management Act directing the corporate
hospitals/private hospitals to keep 50% or any
other percentage free municipal beds, it must be
strictly complied with and there shall be constant
vigilance and supervision.

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v) There shall be free helpline numbers to redress
the grievances of common man, when there is

.

noncompliance of the directions by the private

hospitals/corporate hospitals.

vi) Curfew on weekends/night be considered by
States where it is not in place.

vii) In a micro containment zone or in an area
where number of cases are on higher side, to cut
the chain,they should be sealed and there should
be complete lockdown so far as such areas are

concerned. Such containment areas need to be
sealed for few days except essential services. The
same is required to break the chain of virus
spread.

viii) Any decision to impose curfew and/or

lockdown must be announced long in advance so
that the people may know
and make provisions for their livelihood, like ration
etc.

ix) Another issue is a fatigue of front row health
care officers, such as, Doctors, Nurses as well as
workers. They are already exhausted physically

and mentally due to tireless work for eight months.
Some mechanism may be required to give them
intermittent rest.”

7. In a fairly recent decision rendered by Hon’ble Three

Judges Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Dipika Jagat

Ram Sahani vs. Union of India and others (2021) 2

SCC 740 it has categorically been held that the Constitution

of India with the object of securing to all its citizens social

and economic justice contains various Articles which

empower making of special law in favour of women and

children. Article 47 of the Constitution which forms the part

of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that the

State shall regard the raising of level of nutrition and the

standard of living of its people and the improvement of

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public health as amongst its primary duties. It was held that

.

the Government has a constitutional obligation to preserve

human life. Good health of its citizens is its primary duty.

International covenants also aim at highest attainable

standards of physical and mental health. This is in the

interest of social justice. Inadequate supply of nutritious food

to the citizens, more particularly, to the children and the

women shall affect their health. Therefore,
r the same shall

be in violation of their fundamental right to health/right to

live with dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the

Constitution. Lastly, it was held that it is for the State to

secure health of its citizens as its primary duty.

8. Somewhat identical matter regarding the rapid

spread of Covid-19 during the 1 st Pandemic had earlier come

up before the Court in CWPIL No. 11/2020 titled ‘Court on

its own motion vs. State of H.P. and others’ along with

connected matter, decided on 03.12.2020 wherein after

hearing the parties, the following directions came to be

passed:-

“i. The State shall ensure that senior doctors in all the
notified COVID hospitals visit the ward on regular basis
in accordance with the instructions issued by the
Government.

ii. The State is directed to consider the feasibility of
having liquid oxygen tankers stationed at all the notified
COVID hospitals.

iii. Respondents to ensure that the manpower hired
temporarily on outsource basis through authorised

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service providers be appointed as expeditiously as
possible and in no event later than 5th December, 2020.

.

iv. The State is directed to ramp up the testing by

adopting the approved measures by associating private
Labs or their technicians, or both.

v. It shall be mandatory for the sample collecting
authority to obtain contact number, e-mail id, if any,apart
from other details like age, address etc. at the time of

taking samples, so that the result of the test can be
communicated on e-mail, whatsapp etc. Such report be
supplied in a time bound manner and in no event beyond

48 hours, bearing in mind the necessary protocols.

vi. Wide publicity be given in the news, print and social
media regarding testing that are to be conducted in
walk-in kiosk in all the towns like Shimla, Mandi,

Dharamshala, Kullu, Solan, Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur etc.
for the collection of samples during the pre-fixed time

everyday.

vii. A dedicated helpline in all the COVID Hospitals be

notified so that the family members, near and dear ones
of the COVID patients can get in touch with such patients

to know about his/her well being etc.

viii. Such patients, who are willing to afford, be
permitted to have trained nursing attendant at their own
costs as this would be a long way to reduce the burden
on the hospital staff.

ix. It be ensured that wrapping up of the dead body(ies)
of those COVID patients, who unfortunately succumb to
the disease, under no circumstances is/are carried
out/done in the Ward and the body is removed
immediately from the Ward.

x. It be ensured that the toilets are kept in clean and
hygienic condition round a clock and a dedicated
helpline be provided to the patients, in case, they have

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any complaint regarding not only the toilets but other
facilities.

.

xi. Provisions for hot water and steamer(s) be made by

providing those in adequate quantities alongwith
electricity extension boxes.

xii. The State may also consider making COVID test
mandatory for the people entering the State from the
outside.

xiii. The rules regarding the wearing of mask,social
distancing and quarantine be strictly enforced by
associating not only the local police but also by engaging
the employees of the Municipal Corporation, Home

Department and local volunteers.

xiv. It be ensured that no person or family is ostracised
by the Society only because the family is COVID positive.

xv. No social or public gathering shall be permitted
henceforth without the prior approval of the Magistrate

with intimation to the local police station who shall then
be duty bound to ensure that such gathering does not

exceed the prescribed limit. In addition thereto, it shall
also be the duty and responsibility of the office bearers

of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and local urban bodies,
as the case may be, to ensure that the protocols and
procedures including wearing of mask, social distancing,
home isolation, public gathering etc. are strictly adhered
to.

xvi. It be ensured that every person, more particularly,
who are engaged in delivery of essential services
observe SoPs strictly and their test be conducted on
priority basis.

xvii. The State would consider providing additional
incentives to those deployed in COVID-19 duties
including the outsourced workers, more particularly,
Class-III and IV, who are working in the COVID wards.

xviii. The patients undergoing treatment at home will be
contacted by dedicated medical personnel at least twice

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a day over his/her telephone so as to monitor the

.

treatment at home.

xix. The State will ensure that the medicine kits being
provided to patients undergoing treatment at home are

of good and standard quality so as to remove any kind of
doubt regarding its efficacy.

xx. The State would also consider having flexi or

staggered office time from 9:30 a.m. for the first shift
and 10:00 a.m. for the second shift which shall finish at
4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively This will help in
reducing over-crowding in buses.

xxi. The general public be educated about COVID-19 by

hoardings, messages through Radio, T.V., booklets etc.
by convincing them that it is a collective fight by the
society and no one should violate the regulations,

procedures and protocols. The people should also be
educated about the infection of the Corona, its

prevention and treatment.

xxii. Similar exercise shall be taken by all the

Secretaries, State Legal Services Authority at their own
level and through the PLV’s etc.

xxiii. The Director General of Police is directed to depute
extra police personnel(s) from the battalion and other
places so as to ensure that no one unnecessarily leaves
or enter the containment zones.

xxiv. All those involved in COVID duties irrespective of
their rank and files, are restrained from going on
strike/dharna and, in case, any one of them have any
difficulty, then they are at liberty to approach this Court
individually or through the learned Amicus Curiae for
redressal thereof, but under no circumstances they
would resort to arm twisting by resorting to strike or
dharna. In case, any one of them resort(s) to such mis-
adventure, then in addition to any other action, which
respondents-State may take including blacklisting the

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firm(s), terminating the services of such employees,
he/they shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished for

.

contempt under the Contempt of Courts Act, for

deliberately disobeying the directions of the Court.

xxv. Ambulances, six in number, which are fitted with

ventilator(s) and other equipments and are stated to be
idle, shall be put to use forthwith.

xxvi. Adequate provisions be made for diet, rest etc. for
those who have been deputed in connection with COVID-
19 duties and if found necessary, assistance of NGOs,
Charitable Institutions may be taken.”

9. Reverting back to the facts of the present case, the

main grievance of the petitioner as set-forth in the petition

is lack of oxygen facilities at Dr. Y. S. Parmar Government

Medical College, Nahan and non-functioning of 25

ventilators which have been given to the Medical College

under the HIM Care Scheme in July, 2020.

10. Learned Senior Additional Advocate General

has placed on record the instructions received from the

Principal of the College, which reads as under:

“1. The PSA oxygen plant building sight is ready
alongwith the equipment waiting for commissioning
the authorized technicians of the certified company
as tendered by the govt. have yet to installed and
commission the plant. The PSA plant is of 675 LPM
capacity.

2. Total number of ventilators in the medical college
26 and functional five (Non-Invasive).

3. Covid isolation ward oxygen supply 024 x 7
manifold plant oxygen supply is available to 20 Covid

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ICU beds and additional 10 beds are being maintained
through D type oxygen cylinders at present no

.

shortage of oxygen supply in the covid isolation ward.

4. The oxygen cylinders are filled on daily basis
through authorized vendors on priority basis from the

following sources:

1. M/s Himachal Oxygen limited Paonta Sahib
Distt. Sirmaur, H.P.

2. M/s Bala Sundari Gases (O) Ltd., Trilokpur
Road, Kala Amb, Distt. Sirmaur.

Apart from this, with respect to reply of page numbers
6 and 7, following submissions are made:

1. Adequate medical facilities, medicines five

ventilators are available.

2. Duty Roster of Anesthesia Medicine Deptt. Are

strictly adhered to under the supervision of Senior
Medical Superintendent and dedicated Covid Nodal

Officer Dr. Vinay Kaushik.

3. Five ventilators are functional (Non Invasive)

under the supervision of HOD Anesthesia.

4. Responsibility has been fixed under the supervision

of Dr. Vinay Kaushik, HOD, Medical.

5. PSA plant has been given by GOI installation has
not yet done. Repeated request for installation has
not yielded any positive result. Now, they have given
date of 10th May, for installation.”

11. After going through the aforesaid instructions, it is

vehemently contended by learned Senior Additional

Advocate General that it is in exceptional circumstances

that the ventilators are being put to use for the treatment

of Covid-19 patients and as per the latest protocols, it is

only High flow oxygen that is primarily required and there

is no dearth of supply of the same for the present.

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12. The learned Senior Additional Advocate General

.

has provided us the details of the Covid patients, who are

currently put on ventilators which reveal that 48 patients

are currently on the ventilators, out of which 19 are at Dr.

RPGMC Hospital Kangra at Tanda, 11 are at Govt.

Medical College and Hospital, Shimla, 12 at Shri Lal

r to
Bahadur Shastri Govt. Medical College, Ner Chowk, Mandi,

and 6 at Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Government Medical

College and Hospital, Chamba. No patient in Nahan thus

far was required to put on ventilator.

13. At this stage, Mr. B.N. Misra, learned Senior

Advocate assisted by Ms. Vandana Misra, learned counsel

for the petitioner complains that in view of the surge of

Covid cases, the hospital at Nahan is far too small to

handle Covid cases as it has only 20 Covid ICU beds and

additional 10 beds which are being maintained through

‘D’ type oxygen cylinders to deal with the Covid patients.

Whereas, taking into consideration the sudden surge in

the Covid positive patients, the facility for atleast 500

persons should be made available by the Government.

14. Mr. Vaidya, learned Senior Additional Advocate

General, on instructions, states that the State is already

alive to the situation and currently only 23 patients are

admitted in the hospital at Nahan and shortly the State

Government would be making the facility for hiring private

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hospitals. One hospital in fact by the name of ‘Sai

.

Hospital’ at Nahan having the bed capacity of 80 has

already been taken up for the aforesaid purpose and talks

are at the advance stage for taking over the Juneja

Hospital at Paonta Sahib. In this way, there would be the

facility of about 110 additional beds available within 15 to

20 days.

15. to
Mr. B.N. Misra, learned Senior Counsel for the

petitioner has pointed out that the private hospitals are

reluctant to provide covid test facilities and has invited our

attention to the news report titled “Pvt. Hospitals reluctant

to provide Covid test facility” published in the Tribune in

its edition dated 5th May, 2021.

16. We may observe that the war against the Covid is

not to be fought by the Government alone, but is

collective efforts by all citizens, social service

organisations, NGOs and, more importantly, the private

hospitals. Therefore, the private hospitals should not shirk

from their duties and responsibilities in these testing

times.

17. Since the Covid pandemic has struck the entire

State, therefore, we feel that it is absolutely necessary to

expand the scope of this petition to the entire State, more

particularly, keeping in view the two articles that have

recently appeared in the English daily i.e. Hindustan Times

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– 15 –

.

dated 5th May, 2021, which reads as under:

“71% beds in Himachal Pradesh hospitals occupied,
shows data

Situation in the dedicated Covid care centres across the 12
districts is slightly better; of the total 1,387 beds in these centres,
only 286 (20%) are currently occupied; government says there is
no need to panic as enough beds and oxygen are available.

About 71% beds in the dedicated Covid health centres (DCHCs)
and hospitals in Himachal are occupied and the remaining ones
would be filled up soon if the cases continue to spiral, suggest the
data obtained from the health department.

Two hospitals in Shimla — Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC)

and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (DDU) — are full to capacity.
At Deen Dayal Upadhyay, there are 127 patients against its 90-
bed capacity. “Right now, we have adequate stock of oxygen,”
said medical superintendent Dr Ravinder Mokhta.

Patients in critical care from Rohru, Chopal, Theog, and Rampur
are also referred to DDU. “We are trying to accommodate every
patient requiring treatment,” said IGMC senior medical

superintendent Dr Janakraj Pakhretia. “More beds are being
added to the new OPD block. We have also taken over the wards

in medicine department,” he added. As per the data, the state
has a total capacity of 1,967 beds in DCHCs of which, 1,397 were
occupied as of May 4.

Himachal has 28 DCHCs and dedicated Covid hospitals of which,
IGMC, Shimla; Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College
(RPGMC), Tanda; and Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical
College in Mandi are tertiary centres.

Among the patients admitted in the centres, 1,183 are on oxygen
support and 43 on ventilator support.

Meanwhile, the situation in the dedicated Covid care centres
across the 12 districts is slightly better. Of the total 1,387 beds in
these centres, only 286 (20%) are currently occupied. A
government spokesperson said more than 90% of the people
infected with Covid were in home isolation in the state and there
was no need to panic as enough beds and oxygen were available.

Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, deputy commissioner of Kangra, which
is the worst-hit district, said the situation was bit grim there with
95% beds in Covid facilities occupied.

“All 40 ICU beds at RPGMC, Tanda, are occupied and we are
trying to add 25 more beds. Also, another 25-bed facility has

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been created at Rajiv Gandhi Government Ayurvedic College,
Paprola,” he added.

.

Twenty-five beds will be added to the facility every day, he said,
adding that 40 beds will also be set up at Fortis Hospital on April

7.

Deadliest day in HP as Covid claims 48 lives, infects
3,824
Active cases in the state have climbed to 23,572, while
the recoveries reached 85,671 after 1,992 people

recuperated; senior MBBS will be roped in for Covid duty
in Himachal; to get incentive of ₹3,000.

Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday recorded 3,824 fresh

Covid-19 infections, taking the state’s tally to 1,10,945.

It was also the deadliest day since the outbreak as 48
people succumbed to the contagion, highest number of
fatalities in a single-day since the outbreak. The death
count has now reached 1,647.

The active cases in the state have climbed to 23,572,
while the recoveries have reached 85,671 after 1,992
people recuperated.

Kangra’s case tally breaches 20,000 mark

Of the new cases, 877 were reported in Kangra alone.
The case count in the most populous district in Himachal
has breached 20,000 mark.

Kangra also has the more than 5,000 active cases,
highest in the state.

The second most populous district Mandi has recorded
802 fresh cases and is followed by Solan with 411 cases.
Hamirpur recorded 340 cases, Shimla 323, Sirmaur 270,
Una 258, Bilaspur 227, Chamba 158, Kullu 78, Kinnaur
54 and Lahaul-Spiti 26.

State has recovery rate of 77% and death case fatality
ratio of 1.5%.

Highest 15 fatalities occurred in Kangra, 11 in Solan, six
in Sirmaur, four each in Hamirpur and Shimla, three in
Una, two each in Chamba and Kullu and one in Mandi.

Kangra, the worst-hit district in the second wave, is on
the top in terms of total case count with 20,447 followed
by Shimla with 15,985 cases and Mandi 15,879.

Solan’s case tally has reached 14,129, Sirmaur 8,337,

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

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Una 7,819, Hamirpur 7,340, Bilaspur 6,396, Kullu 6,144,

.

Chamba 4,912, Lahaul-Spiti 2,001 and Kinnaur 1,856.

Six more oxygen plants to come up in Himachal: CM

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday said the Centre
has sanctioned six pressure swing adsorption (PSA)
oxygen plants for the state.

He was addressing a meeting of officers of Kangra

through videoconferencing.

The plants would come up at civil hospital Palampur;
zonal hospital Mandi; civil hospital Rohru; civil hospital

Khaneri in Shimla; Dr YS Parmar medical college and
hospital in Nahan and regional hospital Solan. He said

oxygen production has started in Dharamshala, Mandi
and Shimla plants.

A spokesperson said there was no shortage of oxygen

supply and beds in the hospitals and efforts were being
made to enhance the bed capacity and oxygen supply day
by day. As of now, 3,346 beds were available in various
health institutes of the state.

The CM said that makeshift arrangements should be

made in Paraur to provide additional 250 beds within next
10 days, which would be gradually increased to about
1,000 beds.

Thakur said that private laboratories must be empanelled
and requisitioned so that more RT-PCR tests could be
conducted.

Thakur said the government has also decided to provide
incentives to various categories of doctors and
paramedical staff on duty in Covid hospitals. He said that
fourth and fifth year MBBS students, contractual doctors
and junior/senior residents would be provided an
incentive of ₹3,000 per month while nursing, GNM third-
year students and contractual lab staffers would get
₹1,500 per month till June 30.”

18. It is argued by Shri B. N. Misra, learned Senior

Advocate, that:

(i) There is acute medical crisis in the State of
Himachal Pradesh due to sudden surge and

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spread of COVID-19, which has engulfed not

.

only the urban areas but has also reached the

villages.

(ii) Many deaths have been reported during the

past few days from the various parts of the
State due to acute shortage of oxygen.

(iii) There is acute shortage of life saving drugs,

more particularly, Remdesiver, Tocilizumav and
Favipiravir, which are crucial for saving the lives
of the COVID-19 patients.

(iv) Dedicated COVID hospitals have been

established in major towns like Shimla,
Dharamshala, Mandi, Nahan and Chamba but

there is hardly any such hospital(s) in other
District headquarters, leave alone the Tehsil
headquarters, resulting in the critical COVID

patients being rushed to the aforesaid five

hospitals.

(v) There is no system in place that how many

normal beds, ICUs and ventilators are available
in the government hospitals and in the private
hospitals.

(vi) The test report of RT-PCR is being received with
the delay of 3 to 5 days in most of the cases. In
the meanwhile, if a patient dies, the body is
handed over to the family members and
cremation in such cases is not conducted as per
COVID Protocol. In some instances, the dead
bodies are allowed to be taken to home rather
than being cremated/buried as per standard
Corona protocol, thus, giving rise to spread of
Corona virus amongst the family members and
others.

(vii) Not many effective steps are being taken by

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 19 –

the State Government to check the citizens who

.

are not wearing face mask and not maintaining

social distancing, which could easily be
witnessed at the market places.

(viii)Only the rich and powerful are being admitted
to hospitals where there is availability of oxygen
and also the some of the life saving drugs, while

those belonging to the middle class or lower
middle class, poor and below poverty line
families are left without treatment.

(ix) The State Government is being discriminated

by the Central Government with regard to
supply of life saving drugs like Remdesivir,

Favipiravir and Tocilizumab. Recently, only
3000 vials have been allocated to the State
Government, whereas, those States having

lesser population and far lesser Covid-19 cases

have been supplied far greater number of vials.
No allocation was made by the Union of India of

Tocilizumab in the recent allocation made on
27.04.2021, whereas this drug was made
available to 19 States and Union Territory.

19. Let the State and the Central Government

through the learned Senior Additional Advocate General

and learned Assistant Solicitor General of India respond to

these allegations point-wise on the next date of hearing.

20 Given the fact that the State has witnessed drastic

surge in the Covid-19 positive cases and the fatality in the

State are highest in the Country. We at this stage, deem it

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 20 –

.

proper to pass the following directions against the

respondents, which shall be in addition to the directions as

have already been passed in CWPIL No. 11 of 2020 (as

quoted above):

(i) Increase the number of authorized

laboratories/clinics/hospitals which can carry on
the testing for a larger percentage of population.

(ii) Increase the number of testing being done

in the bigger towns of the State. The State
Government should consider the use of other kits,
besides the Rapid Antigen Kit, or the RT PCR tests,

for increasing the tests being carried out on daily
basis.

(iii) In order to increase the testing facilities in

the hill districts of the State, the State Government

should consider sending of ‘mobile vans’ which are
fully equipped for carrying out the testing of
COVID-19 virus.

(iv) The State should increase the number of
dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals. For, merely having
few dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, is too little to
tackle the menace, especially when the pandemic
is likely to spread and increase throughout the
State in the coming months.

(v) The State is also directed to consider the
feasibility of establishing temporary hospitals with
the help of any other Central agency.

(vi) The State is directed to increase the
number of beds available in the hospitals. It shall
ensure that the majority of the beds are equipped
with Oxygen tank and sufficient numbers of bed
are equipped with ventilators. If necessary, the
number of ICUs in the hospitals should be

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 21 –

increased. This is essential as it is claimed that

.

the second strain directly affects the lungs of the

patient. Therefore, the patient needs to be given
intensive care, and may require to be put on

ventilator immediately.

(vii) The State Government is directed to
ensure that the PPE kits and other protective

gears, such as gloves, masks, and sanitizer are
provided to all the medical staff, especially to the
Doctors, Nurses, Ward Boys to look after the
COVID-19 patients. Until and unless our front line

worriers are protected from COVID-19 virus, it will

be impossible for us to win the battle against the
COVID-19 virus.

(viii) The State Government is directed to
publish the names and locations of the testing
centres, and the names and locations of

Hospitals/Dedicated COVID-19 Health Care Centres

in the media bulletin on a daily basis. The media
bulletin should clearly indicate the total number of

beds available in each hospital/Dedicated COVID-
19 Health Care Centres, and the number of vacant
beds available in each hospital. It should also
indicate the class of the beds i.e. the number of
beds attached with ventilators, number of beds
attached with Oxygen cylinders and the number of
beds without any Oxygen tank/ Cylinder.

ix) We make it absolutely clear that in case the
private hospitals refuse to cooperate or reluctant
to provide Covid test and covid facilities, then the
State Government shall forthwith resort to
coercive steps as provided under the
Disaster
Management Act and also
Essential Services
Maintenance Act. In addition thereto, wherever
private hospitals have been granted incentives like
plots on concessional rates etc. etc. The State

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 22 –

.

Government shall be free to withdraw the

incentive/ recover the amounts etc. Lastly, the
State may proceed to take any other coercive or

punitive step as may be warranted and otherwise
permissible under the law.

1

x) The State should also consider the purchasing of

additional CT Scan Machines in the State as it is
learnt that this machine is essential to detect the
presence of the second strain of Covid-19 virus.

21. The State is also directed to furnish the following

informations:

i) Available bed capacity exclusively for Covid-19

facilities in the State both in Government and private
hospitals alongwith the details of the availability of

oxygen (high flow or otherwise).

ii) State shall give the details of the steps taken and

proposed to augment the availability of oxygen
meeting both the current and projected requirements.

iii) Place on record the plan prepared by the State
Government under the
Disaster Management Act to
tackle the Covid-19 cases.

iv) Steps taken to ensure the availability of essential
drugs including Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Tocilizumab
amongst other prescribed drugs and the modalities
which have been set up for controlling the essential
drugs for preventing hoarding and ensuring the proper
communication of the requirement at the level of each
Districts by the District Health Authorities or the
Collectors of the Health Department of the State.

v) The details of the steps taken by the
Government to comply with the judgment of the
Hon’ble Supreme Court in suo motu Writ Petition (Civil)

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 23 –

No. 3 of 2021 in Re: Distribution of Essential Supplies

.

and Services during pandemic, dated 30.04.2021.

vi) Furnish the details of the staff alongwith their

designation who have been deputed in the Covid
hospitals, both Government and Private.

vii) Respondent No.4 shall furnish the details with

regard to distribution of Remdesivir, Favipiravir and
Tocilizumab from the Central Government to the State
Government up-to-date and why the State of Himachal

Pradesh has been discriminated while making

allocations of Tocilizumab vide letter dated 27.04.2021
and why allocation of only 3000 Remdesivir vials was
made to the State of Himachal Pradesh in comparison

to the States with lesser population and with far lesser
Covid- infections.

viii) The State shall provide details along with data
with regard to distribution of the oxygen and further

the details proposed to augment the supply of oxygen.

ix) The State shall furnish the data and also give
the data-wise demand and supply of oxygen for the
last two weeks as well as future projected demand and
the measures taken for meeting such demand.

x) The State shall ensure the uploading of real time
data about the availability of beds in each hospital of
the State for Covid-19 patients on its Web Portals and
also on the Web Portals of all the Hospitals and also
physically display the data outside each hospital on
daily basis .

xi) As regards the availability of beds in hospital,
the following parameters of information must be
placed in the public domain by the State Government
for all Covid designated hospitals in the State, both
public and private through dedicated website and

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP
-24-
physically outside the hospital.

.

(a) Name and address of hospital;

(b) Total number of designated Covid-19 beds;

(c) Total number of available designated

Covid-19 beds;

(d) Number of beds available in ICUs with
ventilators.

(e) Number of beds in ICUs without ventilators;

(f) Number of general hospital beds available
with oxygen;

(g) Number of general beds available without

oxygen facility.

(h) Date and time when this information was
last updated;

(I) Name and mobile number of the Nodal

Officers for admission to the hospital;

(j) Link to GPS location of the hospital (only

for website).

Such information must be updated once

every eight hours and it must be ensured
that the site is not password protected and

does not require any login credentials to
view this information.

xii) The State shall also furnish the steps taken
regarding the availability of oxygen for those all the
Covid-19 patients, who though may in home isolation
but require oxygen.

xiii) Experts speculate a third wave and, therefore,
the State shall disclose its road-map in case third wave
strikes.

xiv) The State has not carried out any Vaccination
Programme for those aged between 18 to 44 on the
pretext of non-availability of vaccine. Therefore, the
State Government is directed to disclose clearly as to
from which date, it shall commence the vaccination
for the age group as aforesaid.

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

– 25 –

(xv) The State shall furnish its stand regarding the

.

importance (if any) of the ventilators in treatment of

Covid and how it proposes to put to use the ventilators
that are lying idle with the State in various hospitals.

(xvi) The State is directed to furnish the complete
details regarding the availability of essential medicines
required for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, more

particularly, the availability of Remdesivir, Favipiravir
and Tocilizumab and in case of short-fall, the steps
taken in this regard.

(xvii) In the meanwhile, respondent No.4 is directed to

ensure the adequate availability of the essential drugs,
more particularly, the life saving drugs to the State of
Himachal Pradesh and enumerate in detail the steps

taken in this regard on or before the next date of
hearing.

List on 10.05.2021 at 2.00 P.M.

(Tarlok Singh Chauhan)
Judge

6th May, 2021 Chander Bhusan Barowalia)
(GR/KRT) Judge

07/05/2021 20:12:50 :::HCHP

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