JABALPUR: The Madhya Pradesh High Court expressed unhappiness with the state government's submission on efforts to procure medical oxygen amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and asked the Centre to raise the supply quota for the state by 100 metric tons.
The detailed order of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan of Friday was made available on the HC website on Saturday.
"There have been several incidents in the past two weeks in which people have lost their lives only because of sudden disruption or low-pressure in supply of oxygen or due to non-availability of oxygen, as per newspaper reports," the HC said, adding that "oxygen and Remdesivir continue to be two major problems" for the state government.
The state government had filed an action taken report (ATR) with respect to various directives issued on April 19 by HC.
"We are constrained to record that most of the significant directions issued by this court in its order of April 19, mainly in respect of continuous and regular supply of oxygen and Remdesivir to the government as well as private hospitals, nursing homes have have not been fully complied," the HC observed.
It directed the MP government to consider increasing the RT-PCR test sample collection in four slots from two in a day.
"What has been contended before us is that most of the private hospitals are refusing to admit corona patients for the reason of non-availability of oxygen, and now with every passing day, it is becoming difficult for COVID patients to get admission in either government or private hospitals," it said.
The HC asked the state government to have a re-look at its distribution policy of Remdesivir so that the medicine becomes available to the common man at a reasonable price.
In response to a court's query regarding 100 MT more oxygen for MP, Assistant Solicitor General JK Jain sought time to seek instructions from the government.
The court is hearing a bunch of petitions, including a suo motu one, with respect to treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Amicus curiae and senior advocate Naman Nagrath told court the state government had failed to manage continuous and regular supply of oxygen and Remdesivir injection, adding that the action plan submitted by it on availability of oxygen was far from reality.
He said there is accumulation of medical waste like PPE kits, masks and other items in all major cities, including Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur, and showed clippings of newspaper reports.
The amicus curiae as well as counsels appearing for interveners said, despite specific direction by HC, private hospitals were refusing to admit and treat patients who are entitled to cashless treatment facility.
The HC said hospitals approved for treatment of patients covered by cashless schemes of the government shall not refuse to provide treatment, and action must be taken in case complaints come in on this front.
It also asked the state government and the MP State Pollution Control Board to undertake a special drive for disposal of bio-medical waste in accordance with provisions of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998 and submit a compliance report on it.
The state on Saturday reported 12,379 fresh COVID-19 cases and 102 fatalities, taking the tally of infections to 5,75,706 and the toll to 5,718, the state health department said.
The state is now left with 88,511 active cases.
A total of 14,562 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the count of recoveries in Madhya Pradesh to 4,81,477, the department said.
With 1,832 new cases, Indore's caseload went up to 1,12,672 while that of Bhopal rose to 91,456 with the addition of 1,683 cases.
Indore reported eight deaths, taking the toll in the district to 1,147 while the count of fatalities in Bhopal rose to 742 with six more patients succumbing to the infection, officials said.
Indore is now left with 11,992 active cases while Bhopal has 12,043 such cases.
With 60,835 new tests, the total number of samples tested for coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh has crossed 78.08 lakh.
In the month of April, Madhya Pradesh recorded 2,67,826 fresh cases including 1,630 fatalities, as per the data.
Coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 5,75,706, new cases 12,379, death toll 5,718, recovered 4,81,477, active cases 88,511, number of tests so far 78,08,547.
State home minister Narottam Mishra said the cycle of oxygen tankers arriving from different places had set in properly and this would ensure availability of the vital gas in the coming days as well.
"There was a huge oxygen crisis in the state eight days back. As of today, we are on the surplus side as far as availability of oxygen is concerned," Mishra, also the state government spokesperson, told reporters.
Earlier, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had tweeted that the state was getting a quota of 586 metric tons of oxygen.
"On April30, there was supply of 465 MT oxygen, 489 MT on May 1 and supply of 503 MT is expected on May 2," the CM had tweeted.
He had informed that 58 oxygen plants were being set up at the district-level.