‘Maha govt’s circular shouldn’t affect oxygen supply to Covid-19 patients in MP’: HC
Maharashtra government had directed all oxygen production units in the state to supply 80 percent of oxygen to Covid-19 patients and remaining for industrial purposes. This affected the supply of liquid oxygen to Madya PradeshUpdated: Sep 16, 2020 20:04 IST
In an interim relief to Madhya Pradesh government, MP High court’s Indore bench on Wednesday ordered that supply of liquid medical oxygen will continue uninterrupted to the state without being influenced by a Maharashtra government’s circular.
Through its September 7 circular, the Public Health Department of Maharashtra government had directed all oxygen production units in the state to supply 80 percent of oxygen to Covid-19 patients in Maharashtra hospitals and remaining 20 percent for industrial purposes. This affected the supply of liquid oxygen to Madya Pradesh by a Maharashtra-based private company. The company used to supply 20 tonnes of medical oxygen daily to Madhya Pradesh. The circular affected and led to a shortage of medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients in several districts of Madhya Pradesh.
On September 10, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a talk with Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and urged him to restore the supply of oxygen. The central government too intervened with the secretary of health ministry writing to all chief secretaries to continue the supply.
Issuing an interim order on Wednesday on a petition filed by Dr PS Thakur, superintendent of Maharaja Yeshwantrao (MY) Hospital in Indore, the high court’s bench of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Surendra Shukla said, “By way of interim relief M/s Inox Air Products Pvt Ltd is directed to continue uninterrupted supply of liquid medical oxygen to the state of Madhya Pradesh including the petitioner hospital, without being influenced by the circular dated September 7, 2020.”
The court said, “It has been argued by the advocate general that a common man cannot afford to avail treatment in the hospitals like Bombay Hospital, Apollo Hospital, Vedanta Hospital and other private super-speciality hospitals and the petitioner hospital is the only ray of hope for the poor people.”
Quoting advocate general Purusheaindra Kaurav, the court said, “Madhya Pradesh is importing liquid medical oxygen from Maharastra, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. As on date, the total requirement of oxygen in the state is about 100 tonnes per day and keeping in view the increase in number of Covid-19 patients, the hospitals will be requiring 270-280 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen per day as on October 31, 2020... He has drawn the attention of this court towards an agreement executed by the petitioner hospital with respondent Inox Air Products Pvt. Ltd…The agreement between the petitioner and the respondent is very much in force.”
“The advocate general has stated that there cannot be discrimination between Covid-19 patients of various states and if a Covid-19 patient of Maharashtra is in need of liquid medical oxygen, the Covid-19 patient of Madhya Pradesh is also in need of liquid medical oxygen. He cannot be given nitrogen in place of liquid medical oxygen… He has argued before this court that it is very unfortunate that even after the intervention of the Government of India, the oxygen supply is being discontinued. He has also informed this court that a large number of patients are dying because of Covid-19 and state cannot close its eyes towards those who are dying on account of non-supply of liquid medical oxygen.”
The court directed issuance of notices to five respondents namely secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; principal secretary, Public Health Department, Maharashtra; Inox Air Products Pvt Ltd and Medical Education and Public Health and Family Welfare departments of Madhya Pradesh. The next date of hearing is fixed on October 19.