Covid-19: SC Task Force To Look Into Oxygen Distribution

Sources told media Supreme Court judges spoke to each member of the task force, which is expected to begin work in a week, with reports sent to the centre and court

New Delhi: A 12-member National Task Force has been set up by the Supreme Court to assess availability and distribution of medical oxygen – on scientific, rational and equitable basis – across the country. The task force will also suggest measures to ensure availability of medicines needed to treat COVID-19.

Setting up of the task force had been ordered by the top court on Friday, when it called for a revamp of the centre’s allocation of oxygen to different states. At the time the centre had agreed and wanted an audit to be performed, but the Delhi government had opposed it.

Sources told media the two-judge bench that passed the order – Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah – spoke personally to each member of the task force, which will begin work within a week.

“The rationale for constituting a Task Force at a national level is to facilitate public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge. We expect leading experts in the country shall associate with the Task Force, as members and resource persons,” the court said in its final order.

“This will facilitate a meeting of minds and the formulation of scientific strategies to deal with an unprecedented human crisis,” the court added.

The task force’s reports will be submitted to the centre and the court.

Members include Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice Chancellor of the West Bengal University of Health Sciences, and Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director of Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute.

Two members will be from the government and a Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor.

In its hearings the Supreme Court had said the centre failed to consider factors like ambulances, lower-level Covid care facilities and patients in home quarantine.

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