Fisherman seeks HC intervention to set up testing facilities in Ratnagiri
A two-member division bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde, heard Wasta’s plea through video conferencing.Updated: May 25, 2020 13:44 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the state government to respond following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a fisherman, Khalil Ahmad Hasanmiya Wasta, from Ratnagiri district. Wasta has complained that the district has reported a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases after the government lifted inter-state travel restrictions.
He cited that the district had reported seven Covid-19 positive cases, including two deaths, till April.
However, 108 Covid-19 positive cases have been recorded since inter-state travel has been allowed in May amid the easing of lockdown restrictions, the plea said.
He also demanded that a facility to conduct Covid-19 test be set up in the district, as the nearest centre is located in Sangli and Miraj, which are 237 kilometres away, leading to a delay in the availability of test results.
A two-member division bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde, heard Wasta’s plea through video conferencing.
Advocate Rakesh Bhatkar, who appeared on Wasta’s behalf, said that Covid-19 positive cases are likely to increase in the Konkan region, including Ratnagiri district, as more stranded students and migrant workers are likely to return home amid the easing of travel restrictions.
The plea pointed out that “state authorities issued passes and 44,531 people were allowed to enter Ratnagiri district. Around 30, 000 people entered the district without official passes. The government data showed that 29,259 people are quarantined at home. The district has a population of 16.15 lakh. It has six functional hospitals, out of which two have been converted into dedicated Covid-19 facilities”.
The petitioner claimed that in light of the available data the district administration is not equipped to meet an increased demand to conduct Covid-19 tests.
The court directed government pleader Priyabhushan Kakade to take instructions from the state authorities and asked him to respond to Wasta’s plea during the next hearing of the case on Tuesday.