CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, started process for finding out the ground situation on availability of Covid-19 testing facility in rural areas of the State. It started with Kalahandi and Nabarangpur by assigning the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) of the two districts to find out the ground situation with help of para-legal workers empanelled with them.
One Sanjiv Joshi had filed a PIL seeking the court’s intervention for the availability of RT-PCR testing facilities at block levels throughout the State. Expressing disappointment over the State government’s failure to present a clear picture on the ground situation, the court on September 7 had directed the Additional Chief Secretary of Health and Family Welfare department to file a detailed report on five issues that were left unanswered in the affidavit filed on that day.
Accordingly, an affidavit was filed afresh on Wednesday. However, petitioner counsel Sukumar Patjoshi expressed reservations on the affidavit. The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray directed the secretaries of DLSA, Kalahandi and Nabarangpur to constitute their respective teams with five para-legal workers including one young empanelled lawyer to visit different areas and find out the ground situation related to five issues mentioned in its September 7 order.
The bench directed for submission of comprehensive reports supported by photographs and video footage by the teams to the secretary of their respective DLSA by October 1 for immediate submission to the HC Registry. The bench left it to the DLSA Secretary to fix the honorarium for the para-legal workers included in the team. While fixing October 5 as next date for hearing on the PIL, the bench also allowed the petitioner counsel to make individual assessment of the ground situation in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts and file an affidavit.