Jharkhand witnessing ‘war-like situation’ due to Covid-19: HC
Hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) on different aspects of Covid-19 pandemic in Jharkhand, a division bench of chief justice Ravi Ranjan and justice Sujit Narayan Prasad wanted to know if the government was well prepared to deal with this situation.Updated: Apr 18, 2020, 12:41 IST
The Jharkhand high court on Friday expressed concern over the spread of novel coronavirus infection in different parts of the state, observing that a “war like situation” has arisen.
Hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) on different aspects of Covid-19 pandemic, a division bench of chief justice Ravi Ranjan and justice Sujit Narayan Prasad wanted to know if the government was well prepared to deal with this situation.
“Whether the government has a road map for this and sufficient man power and resources to handle the situation,” the bench questioned.
It sought a detailed reply from the government by April 24, the next date for hearing.
The bench asked advocate general Rajiv Ranjan to file a detailed affidavit mentioning government’s response on strict implementation of lockdown guidelines issued by the centre for Covid-19 hot spots.
The bench also wanted to know the state’s preparedness to deal with the pandemic, especially in the ensuing holy month of Ramadan.
It also took strong umbrage at news reports that highlighted how people were violating lockdown orders in Ranchi’s Hindpiri locality, the epicentre of Covid-19.
The bench read out excerpts from a letter forwarded by one Arun Kumar Dubey on violation of lockdown orders in Hindpiri. Treating Dubey’s letter as a separate PIL, the court said that Hindpiri’s two contractors had attended a meeting of the water board at the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), while five residents of the area fled to Lohardaga when the entire locality was sealed.
“How can people come out of their houses and wander on streets when the whole area has been sealed after being declared a potential hot spot?,” the judges observed, seeking the government’s reply.
Citing another news report, the court sought the government’s explanation regarding action taken against Ranchi deputy commissioner for allegedly allowing buses to transport labourers to Sahebgunj and Pakur on instructions of a minister in the state government cabinet.
The court wanted to know that whether the people, who had escaped at the instance of the deputy commissioner, were traced and tested for Covid-19.
Advocate general Rajiv Ranjan, however, defended the government, arguing that Hindpiri has been sealed with corrugated sheets and all 15 entry and exit points have been blocked.
Ranjan said that demands made by the government from the Centre to send masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing kits, ventilators and rapid testing kits have not been complied with. The state has only 5,000 testing kits at its disposal, the advocate general said.
The bench also queried with regard to the preparedness of doctors and facilities available at RIMS and other government hospitals in the state.
While dealing with a PIL filed by Gulab Chandra Prajapati on the issue of cremation and burial of Covid-19 positive patients, the advocate general informed the court that a separate burial ground was identified in the city’s outskirt area of Bundu.