By LE Desk
New Delhi, May 17: A plea was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to utilise the PM-CARES fund for immediate procurement of vaccines and establishment of oxygen plants, generators and their installation in 738 district hospitals across the country.
The petition, filed by advocate Viplav Sharma, said the government needs to loosen its PM-CARES purse strings and use the money to help common people urgently access medical care and oxygen, The Hindu reported.
“These government hospitals are easily accessible at no cost to common people of every district in the country who are desperately seeking medical oxygen as basic life-saving support,” the petition said.
The petition also asked for a stay on an April 24 notification of the Centre granting exemption on “import duty of medical equipment relating to oxygen generation” owing to its acute and rising demand. The petition said the exemption has been wrongfully capped for only three months. People may need these equipment for more than that period. “Three months’ cap on the exemption period is too short a period from the standpoint of logistics involved in importing these highly sophisticated medical equipment in India by over 300 hospitals,” it said.
The plea asked the court to issue directions to States and Union Territories to ensure that private and charitable hospitals have actually procured, installed and commissioned medical plants or equipment with essential backup for medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients.
The petition said States and UTs should ensure the setting up of electric and other kinds of crematoriums in cities and improve the existing ones. It also sought the preparation of a ‘National Plan’ in consultation with Chief Secretaries and States.