Increase Covid testing, cremation facilities: Uttarakhand HC issues directions

The court heard the matter on Covid management early on April 28 instead of May 10 due to the worsening situation


The Uttarakhand High Court has issued some directions on several petitions filed before it to address the critical condition of the pandemic in the state. At the outset, the court acknowledged that the petitions on Covid-19 management were slated to be heard on May 10 but the “critical condition prevailing in the State” prompted it to conduct the hearing early.

Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma have directed the government to immediately establish Health Centres/Care Centres in Ramnagar as there is no such facility. Considering the large number of samples, which still need to be tested, and the results need to be declared, the Bench directed the State Government to involve all private hospitals/clinics/laboratories to carry out the Rapid Antigen Tests. “As directed earlier, the number of samples that need to be taken in the large cities like Dehradun, Haridwar and Haldwani should be increased to anywhere between 30,000-50,000 per day,” it said.

The court noted the dearth of medical staff in Uttarakhand and suggested that registered final year dental surgeons could be employed to supplement the MBBS and nurses carrying out Covid tests. “It is imperative that the medical staff should be provided with the protective gears,” added the Bench.

On the issue of illegal sales, the court ordered, “All the District Magistrates are directed to ensure that complaints of black-marketing of medicines/essential commodities are immediately enquired into. In case black-marketing of medicines/essential commodities is discovered, the District Magistrates are directed to take strict action against such black-marketers in accordance with law.”

Further, the DMs have also been directed to inquire about overcharging by the ambulances for ferrying the dead bodies to the crematoriums. The High Court has also taken cognisance of the long queues for cremation and has directed the government to increase such grounds by declaring certain areas to be temporary cremation grounds. “The State Government is further directed to ensure that sufficient quantity of wood is available in each of such cremation grounds”, read the order.

On another petition heard by the same Bench, it noted that the list about oxygen suppliers made by the District Magistrate (Dehradun) was flawed and directed it to correct it. It said, “Since the list published by the District Magistrate, Dehradun dated 26.04.2021 is discovered to be flawed one, the District Magistrate, Dehradun is directed to correct the same, and to immediately inform the public in District-Dehradun with regard to the availability of oxygen with the suppliers available in District Dehradun.”

The Bench reiterated in a separate order that people responsible for hoarding medicines will be prosecuted for the same. “In case any pharmacist is discovered to be hoarding, or selling Remdesivir over the permissible price, the concerned Drug Inspector shall take action against the concerned pharmacist, but strictly in accordance with law,” ordered the court.

The court directed the state government to motivate people to undertake plasma donations, and convince the blood banks to collect plasma in each city/town, and to disburse the same for plasma therapy to all hospitals.

The matters have been listed on May 10.

The orders may be read here:


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