Hyderabad: A two-judge panel of the Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy on Tuesday voiced displeasure at the failure of the government to conduct adequate Covid-19 tests. The panel was dealing with a batch of PILs filed by K P Rajender Kumar, a retired medical and health officer, Jogulamba Gadwal district and others. The Chief Justice, pointing out that the government had simply opened the entire State for all activities said, “It’s a miracle all regions have suddenly become green zones.”
Voicing concerns at the number of tests per million in the State the panel pointed out that not conducting tests was a bureaucratic way of fooling people. The panel directed Advocate General B S Prasad to file a detailed report with complete data on tests conducted district wise and cities wise including data relating to returnees from other places and the migrant workers.
The panel questioned whether or not the caretakers of the affected people were tested. Dr Srinivas Rao, Director, Public Health and Family Welfare, through virtual court pointed out that there were two ways of handling the virus and that the government was focused on containment zones than on the number of tests.
He explained that the State was doing better than Maharashtra and Gujarat. Referring to the ICMR guidelines the Chief Justice denied to accept the explanation of director. “The guidelines clearly tell us the tests are to be conducted district wise for understanding the trends, evaluation and planning of health services,” the CJ said.
The panel commented that though the steps taken by the State in the initial stages were satisfactory, the actions taken in later stages defied any logic. When Dr Srinivas Rao tried to explain to the panel that containment zones were the priority, speaking for the panel the Chief Justice said that he had personally visited the containment areas where people were roaming freely.
He also said half of the people in the city were not wearing masks and that social distancing was not being maintained anywhere. The panel directed the Advocate General to place before court the communication sent by Central government to State government on insufficiency in State Covid-19 data.
Further he was directed to place the details of latest data uploaded by the State to Central government. The petitioner complained that once the health service providers were affected the entire system would collapse. Pointing out to the large scale testing done by both Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the panel voiced displeasure at the meagre number of tests done by Telangana. “We expect Telangana to lead the situation and set an example to other States and it wondered why the State has taken U-turn closing its eyes,” the panel said. The panel will continue to hear the matter on Wednesday.
Fund for weavers
While hearing two more petitions, the panel inquired whether a separate fund could be created for weavers in the State in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was dealing with two petitions filed by Rapolu Bhaskar, a practicing advocate. He complained about the plight of weavers and cab drivers in the State. The petitioner complained that unable to use raw material or sell their products the weavers were in debt traps. The panel observed that the primary responsibility was on the weavers’ society. However, conceding with the petitioner that weavers fell in the weaker sections of society, the panel directed Advocate General B S Prasad to discuss with the government about the possibility of creating a specific fund for weavers. About the cab drivers, the petitioner pointed out that there were about 8 lakh cab drivers in the State and that most of them were not the owners. He pointed out that the cab drivers had to clear loans. Ordering notice to the government in both cases the panel adjourned the case to June 5.
PG medical seats fee
The two-judge special panel of the Telangana High Court on Tuesday made it clear that its earlier order on the fee hike of PG medical seats will apply to all the candidates. As reported earlier, the panel comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akhter granted an interim relief allowing the Category ‘A’ candidates who approached the court to pay only 50% of enhanced fee and 60% for the ‘B’ category candidates.
The panel is dealing with the matter along with the public interest litigations filed in the previous years questioning the enhancement of fees. Taking note of other aspiring candidates in the State, the panel extended the interim relief to all eligible candidates. However, the panel made it clear that the fee which was already paid by few candidates was not refundable by the medical colleges.
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