High Court points to differences between Gujarat government’s affidavit & ground reality

The Gujarat High Court has said that there were differences between the affidavit presented by the government on the Covid situation in the state and the ground reality. Laying bare the harsh realities, the court has questioned the state health infrastructure’s preparedness to tackle the projected half-a-million Covid cases expected in the next 15 days and the current practice being observed by hospitals run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to refuse to admit patients who don’t furnish an Ahmedabad Aadhaar Card or who don’t arrive by the ‘108 ambulances’.

Justice Bhargav Karia of the Gujarat HC told the state government, “You cannot sit in an ivory tower and decide that we will solve this crisis like this.” He said that the government affidavit “does not reflect any of the ground reality that is reported everyday, everywhere.”

The HC also took objection to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) diktat that only patients with Ahmedabad Aadhar Card will be given treatment in AMC-run hospitals. “The corporation cannot have its own policy contrary to the government’s,” the court said.

The HC sought to know why AMC-run hospitals were insisting on admitting only those patients who arrive by ‘108 ambulances’ while the other government hospitals are accepting patients arriving in any vehicle. “Is the corporation not under the state,” asked Chief Justice Vikram Nath.

The court maintained that everybody has to be attended irrespective of which vehicle the patients arrives in a hospital. Jutstice Karia asked how the system would react when the patient numbers double. “Are you ready for it,” he asked adding that there is a projection that the patient number may reach half a million in next 15 days and wanted to know if the system will allow the patients to die.

When advocate gGeneral Kamal Trivedi tried to point out that the GMDC Hospital has newly set up 900 beds, Justice Bhargav Karia shot back saying the hospital cannot admit 30,000 patients. The court also expressed its concern about the status of the rest of the state pointing out that Trivedi is largely talking only about Ahmedabad. “Are you representing only AMC,” Justice Karia asked, pointing out that people were paying ten times the price for oxygen.

The court also pointed out how people were running from pillar to post to procure oxygen in various parts of the state and said that “everything is on paper and nothing on the ground”.

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