Jharkhand High Court recalled the state of oxygen bed shortage in the country and asked why a 2017 ordinance for the creation of a 500 bed facility with a 5,000 MT oxygen plant does not has not yet been met. The bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Judge Sujit Narayan Prasad were hearing a contempt case for failure to comply with the 2017 court order that ordered the construction of the 500-bed facility in one year.

In 2017, a bench in the coordination division of the High Court passed an order directing the state to complete construction of a 500-bed facility at Sadar Hospital by December 2018 for access. to the health of marginalized and adivasi populations. The Additional Secretary-General, in charge of the Department of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, was tasked with monitoring it and the Department of Finance was tasked with releasing funds accordingly.

In March 2020, the court asked the chief secretary to explain the delay and in September 2020, the court requested an affidavit to find out if the beds were operational. The chief secretary said December 2020 was the deadline set. After this contempt case was filed, the Chief Secretary was instructed to take the matter seriously given the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unavailability of oxygen beds. The government informed the court that it had taken action against the contractor who failed to complete the work on time with regard to future bids.

Counsel for the contractor argued that a deadline of June 30 had now been set and argued that the contractor would make a sincere effort to complete the remaining work, specifically, regarding the installation of a liquid oxygen plant with a capacity of 5000 tons. .

The state informed the court that 240 hospital beds have been made operational using oxygen cylinders. “Across the country, people are dying from lack of oxygen,” the court noted. The court was informed that 81% of the work was done after 142.47 crore was paid to the contractor, out of the decided amount of 179.21 crore, with the exception of the installation of the factory d ‘oxygen. The court also took stock of the situation on the ground by interacting with Deputy Commissioner Ranchi by virtual mode who told the court that all infrastructure was in place, including the oxygen pipeline but that the factory was not installed.

“The issue here is that when the purpose of the assignment of work to make 500 beds at Sadar Hospital fully operational is to extend the benefits to the poorer part of society for which the government has planned to install oxygen-supported beds which will be supplied by an oxygen plant, but due to its non-completion, the project’s goal has not yet been achieved, ”the court said.

The court further pointed out that if the oxygen plant is made operational, the oxygen cylinders currently in use can be used elsewhere, wherever the need arises.

The court questioned the state that if such a situation arose when 17,000 cylinders were requisitioned by the state, why has work to install the liquid oxygen plant not yet been completed?

While the court noted that the officer was in contempt of court for failing to comply with the 2017 order, the court gave the contractor time to give details of the efforts and as soon as possible. to complete the work and asked the state. to inform the court if HEC Plant Hospital can be used to create oxygen beds.

“We clarify that if anyone objects to the execution of the court order, that person will also be liable to prosecution under the Contempt of Court Act for deliberately creating an obstruction in accordance with the ‘order made by this Court and circumstances, appropriate proceedings will also be brought against the person concerned,’ the court said.

The case will then be heard on May 5.

Order can be read here:

Courtesy: Sabrang India