The Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (hereinafter referred to as “KSLSA”) filed a memo before the Hon’ble Karnataka HC containing various suggestions and recommendations stating that unpreparedness on the part of the Government to the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 is very much forthcoming. Subsequently, it was also stated that there is a critical scarcity of ICU beds in Bengaluru. People are dying majorly due to the lack of infrastructural arrangements made by the Government authorities in the state.
Further, the memo filed by the KSLSA also states that it has been reported that private hospitals are preferring patients from non-government quotas as they can charge limitless fees. Also, private oxygen suppliers are preferring oxygen supply to homes instead of hospitals, due to price factors. Accordingly, the KSLSA recommended that strict guidelines must be issued to the private oxygen suppliers and hospitals to cooperate with the Government agency in combating the second wave of COVID-19.
Following the ongoing discussion, the endorsement was made by the members of KSLSA that a “State Level Monitoring Committee” should be constituted for conducting scrutiny, gathering information, hearing grievances from the public, which was duly considered and permitted by the Hon’ble HC.
Additionally in the ongoing discussion, the Hon’ble HC also stated that KSLSA should prepare an action plan which further can be taken up for effective implementation of the Schemes during the COVID-19 period.
Needful to mention here that Former Justice K. N. Keshavanarayana, of HC is nominated to guide KSLSA in the implementation of NALSA (Legal Services to disaster victims through Legal Services Authorities) Scheme, 2010.
Subsequently, the following are the observation and recommendations made by KSLSA:
- Displaying of real-time Data: The State Government is directed to install “display boards” concerning the availability of beds, stock of medical oxygen, lifesaving drugs such as Remdisivir, cost of such drugs, etc.
- Need for better coordination between stakeholders: coordination between the stakeholder’s departments viz., BBMP, Health, and Family Welfare Services and Police Department in combating COVID-19 especially in Bengaluru.
- Issue of Nodal Officers: It was also added “If the nodal officers are not ready to stay back and monitor hospitals, there should be some citizen volunteers who can stay in the hospital and coordinate between nodal officers and the patients.
- Managing human resource: keeping in mind the ongoing crisis, to solve the issue of shortage of Doctors, Para Medical Staff, it is appropriate to engage the services of retired doctors, fresh MBBS graduates by providing necessary incentives. Furthermore, it was also recommended that the Government may increase the service tenure of health staff who are likely to retire during the Covid period for at least one year.
- Monitoring home quarantine patients
- Strict directions to the private oxygen suppliers and private hospitals
- Proper supply of life-saving
- Providing accurate information to the public
- Providing Social Security to poor sections of the Society
- Providing counselling to the patients and their families: It is observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the minds of the patients as well as their families in a very harsh manner. Therefore it becomes all the more necessary to provide counselling to patients by reputed counsellors or doctors/psychiatrists.
- Strict action against violation of covid-19 protocol: Unfortunately, most of the political leaders were found violating Covid protocols during the recent election campaign. It is necessary that during the election counting process necessary steps should be taken to strictly follow COVID-19 protocol in the counting place or during victory procession at least for a week or so.
Moreover, it was also recorded by the Hon’ble court that BBMP had built 17 temporary Covid Care Centres during the first wave of COVID-19 Pandemic. However, at this point, it is necessary to create temporary ICU units in the city. As the third wave of COVID-19 cannot be ruled out. Therefore, it is necessary for the Government to appropriately prepare for such disasters in the future and formulate plans.
Finally, the Hon’ble Court after hearing the KSLSA passed the order wherein it was stated by the Hon’ble Court that “We make it clear that when the recommendations made from time to time by the Monitoring Committee set up by KSLSA are forwarded to the learned Advocate General and all other stakeholders, the same shall be looked into by all the concerned authorities.”