Bombay HC directs State to set up additional Covid-19 beds at AIIMS, GMCH Nagpur
Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra Government and the Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to set up additional Covid-19 beds at AIIMS and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) within a week.
Though satisfied presently with the availability of Covid-19 beds, the Court condemned the State and AIIMS director for failing to increase Covid-19 beds despite its clear directives on September 29, 2020. It called it necessary for the authorities to think of the future and issued the recent direction.
The direction came while listening to the suo-motu Public Interest Litigation filed last year to address the availability of Covid beds in hospitals in the city.
Giving further direction to set up 198 additional beds in AIIMS, the HC bench comprising of justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote mentioned, "If such new difficulties are expressed at this hour of the time, it will not be helpful for the administration of Nagpur District to come out of the situation of emergency. Something which ought to have been done long ago is now sought to be done. Anyway, we direct the Divisional Commissioner and also Director of AIIMS, Nagpur to co-ordinate to each other and ensure that these 198 additional beds are set up within a weeks' time without any excuse."
The HC has further directed both these authorities to ensure that at least 50% of these additional beds would be oxygenated.
During the recent hearing, the counsel for the court mentioned that the situation in Nagpur District is turning from bad to worse day by day and thus requested the Government authorities to place on record the steps that have been taken so far to tackle the grave situation.
He also pointed out that last year, the Authorities had assured the HC that every day 30 beds would be created and a total number of oxygenated beds, in this manner, would be increased to 1000 beds. Currently, Nagpur has 600 oxygenated beds.
In reply, the counsel for the State submitted before the court that process for the creation of additional 400 oxygenated beds at G.M.C., Nagpur is under-way and the Authorities are hopeful that in the next two weeks this would be achieved.
While addressing the issue regarding AIIMS, the counsel for the Court submitted that in the order passed by Court on 12.10.2020 the Court had expected for the creation of almost 500 additional beds in AIIMS, Nagpur. In fact, the Court had constituted a Task Force under the Chairmanship of the Divisional Commissioner for this purpose. However, the Task Force report had mentioned that 198 additional beds can be made operational in addition to the existing 80 operational beds at AIIMS, Nagpur.
When the court noted that the additional beds wouldn't be possible to be created without the support of the State Government, it mentioned, "If such new difficulties are expressed at this hour of the time, it will not be helpful for the administration of Nagpur District to come out of the situation of emergency."
However, the Court was satisfied with the submissions regarding the availability of Covid beds in Nagpur. The Government Pleader informed the Court that total bed capacity for Nagpur District and Nagpur Rural barring the area falling within local limits of Nagpur Municipal Corporation is 1359 beds, out of which 797 beds are presently unoccupied. It has been further submitted that out of 797 beds 658 beds are oxygenated and 139 beds are I.C.U. beds.
The Government pleader also submitted before the HC that for the hospitals lying within local limits of Nagpur Municipal Corporation, the position is under control. She informed that G.M.C. Nagpur has a capacity of 600 beds, out of which 155 beds are vacant. Out of those 155 beds, 130 beds are oxygenated and 17 beds are I.C.U. beds.
She also informed the court that the bed capacity of Indira Gandhi Government Medical College & Hospital (IGGMCH), Nagpur is 522, out of which 85 beds are currently vacant. Of these 85 beds, 30 beds are oxygenated and 20 are I.C.U beds.
Finally expressing satisfaction over the scenario the Court mentioned in its order,
"We are satisfied, for the present, with the availability of beds, which appears to be in adequate numbers. However, it would be necessary for the Authorities also to think of future and, therefore, as directed by us earlier, additional beds be created within a period of one week from today."
The case has been scheduled for further hearing on 05.04.2021.
To view the original court order, click on the link below.