Chennai, May 6 : The Madras High Court on Thursdayurged the State and the Central governments to ensureequitable distribution of medical oxygen, Covid-19 vaccinesand other life saving materials, by ramping up the productioncapacity.
The position should not be altered to the detrimentof a State, particularly Tamil Nadu, since it has productioncapacity of about 400 MT of oxygen cylinders per day, whichwith some additional supply may suffice for its needs.
The Union and the empowered committee should takeimmediate steps in such regard to ensure adequate supply ofoxygen to Tamil Nadu to meet the needs.
This must be ensured by tomorrow, so that theemergency that the officials speak of of the reserve supplyrunning out by Saturday does not happen, the first bench ofSanjeeb Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said.
It is critical and requires the attention of thehighest offices so that lives are not lost for want ofoxygen, the bench said when the the issue of shortage ofbeds, ventilators and vaccines and alleged diversion ofmedical oxygen to other states came up for further hearing onThursday.
The court had taken up the matter on its own.
It also noted that the Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation has installed oxygen generatingmachines in some hospitals elsewhere at extremely shortnotice and at costs which are affordable.
The State and the Union should facilitate the settingup of such units, if feasible, in Tamil Nadu, particularly inlarger cities like Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, thejudges said.
On the availability of beds, the bench expressed itssatisfaction with the observation that the State was doingwell, though 95 per cent of the beds having oxygen supplyremain occupied.
According to the officials, roughly 70 per cent ofthe overall bed capacity is occupied but a large proportionof the available beds do not have oxygen supply.
The officials have, however, indicated measures havebeen initiated to augment bed capacity, including oxygenatedones and that the same would be available shortly.
On the drug Remdesivir, the bench was told that theallocated quantity for the State since April, 2021 is 1.35lakh units against the order placed of 2.5 lakh units.
The officials claimed that about 24,000 units hadbeen distributed from the Kilpauk centre upon appropriatedocuments being produced.
The judges directed the government to set up moresuch centres in other major cities, including Madurai andCoimbatore for release of Remdesivir directly to privatehospitals or patient parties.
In respect of vaccination, the State said that theCentre has indicated two vendors from whom vaccines can beobtained.
The States allocation at present is 10.3 lakh units,of which 7.65 lakh is to be supplied by one and 2.65 lakhunits by the other.
The vendors, apparently, demanded prior payment andpayment for all of the 10.3 lakh units has been made on May 4for the State to immediately receive the vaccines and startthe universal adult inoculation programme.
The judges directed the Centre and the vendors toensure prompt supply so that preventive measures may be takenat the earliest to stop the increase in cases and thepossible third wave that is being talked of.
As regards the 13 deaths in the government hospitalin Chengalpattu, the bench said that it can wait for anofficial report from the government.
The bench noted to its dismay that the Sterlite unitat Tuticorin is unlikely to produce oxygen till next week.
“There must be constant coordination and the DistrictCollectors may be given additional responsibility in suchregard, leaving their revenue and other duties to others, tomonitor and coordinate the measures taken, to make thefacilities available, including the supply and distributionof oxygen and the like,” the bench added and posted thematter for further hearing on May 12. PTI CORR SA BNBALA BNBALA
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