Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the administration to nominate the adequate number of nodal officers to ensure supply of oxygen to the patients undergoing treatment at their homes.
The court passed the directions on a suo motu petition admitted by it last year regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, said: “The court is conscious of the fact that the government is taking due steps for controlling the pandemic and to provide full medical support.”
“The shortage of oxygen and medicines, including remdesivir, or of doctors or staff is not born out from any material on record,” the court said.
It asked the health secretary of the Union territory to come out with an affidavit within two weeks giving a detailed report.
The health secretary was asked to submit complete details of the number of COVID hospitals, both government and private, number of beds available, district wise/city wise, quantity of remdesivir allotted to the Union territory, the exact quantity of remdesivir received and used with the corresponding figures of the requirement.
Three oxygen generation plants of 3,166 litres per minute (LPM) and six oxygen plants of 6,590 LPM are functional in Jammu and Kashmir regions respectively. Four plants of 4,000 LPM and 17 plants of 30,000 LPM would be made functional within 15 days in Jammu and Kashmir respectively, the affidavit said.
It said there was no shortage of beds in the hospitals as there are 1,354 and 1,708 (total 3062) COVID-dedicated beds, 1,127 and 1,597 beds with oxygen, 227 and 111 ICU beds with ventilators in Jammu and Kashmir regions respectively.
Submitting that there was no ban on use of oxygen for patients at home, the advocate general said they could have the supply of oxygen on medical prescription through nodal officers.
Welcoming the efforts of the government, the bench said: “We find that still much more is required to be done.”
It directed the Health Department to appoint more nodal officers who would ensure smooth supply of oxygen to the patients at home.
The court also asked to give publicity along with the name and numbers of the nodal officers so that such patients or their relatives may approach them with proper medical prescription for the supply of oxygen.
2 KAS Officers To Oversee Containment Efforts
Government meanwhile deployed two senior officers to oversee all Covid containment related work at Jammu and Kashmir divisions respectively.
One of them, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary (IAS), Administrative Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, shall remain stationed at Jammu to oversee all COVID containment related work at Jammu, reads an order issued by the government.
Similarly, Zubair Ahmad (KAS), Commissioner Secretary to the Government, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, has been ordered to be stationed at Kashmir, the order added.
These senior officers were deployed with the Health and Medical Education Department for performing COVID containment related work, assigned to them by the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, the order says.
“(These) officers shall perform their normal functions, in addition to the COVID duties assigned to them, under the overall supervision of Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, with primacy given to COVID containment related work,” the order adds.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.