On Friday the Madhya Pradesh High Court urged all state governments, as well as their respective police and transportation authorities, to provide green corridors for tankers transporting liquid medical oxygen during interstate travel in order to ensure timely delivery of oxygen at their desired destinations.
A division bench comprised of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan issued the order that, “This Court impresses upon all the State Governments and through them, their Police Authorities and the Transport Authorities, to provide green corridors to the Tankers carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen involving inter-state movement, at par with ambulances, so that the oxygen can be timely delivered at the respective destinations, to save the precious human lives in this crucial period.”
The observation came when dealing with a Suo moto writ petition and a slew of petitions highlighting the state’s coronavirus situation and the state’s authorities’ failure to fulfil their duties.
During the hearing, JK Jain, Assistant Solicitor General (ASG), informed the Bench that the Central Government had taken strong note of the incident in which an oxygen tanker carrying oxygen allocated to the state of Madhya Pradesh was intercepted and diverted to Jhansi by police officers from Uttar Pradesh.
The ASG also stated that the Central Government will ensure that such an incident does not occur again in the future and told the Bench that the Union of India has directed all State Governments to ensure free movement of tankers carrying oxygen to their respective delivery destinations.
Furthermore, in dealing with the issue of a lack of oxygen supply in the state, the Court found that the situation on the ground was totally different from what was presented by the State in Action report.
The Court also took serious note of media reports indicating multiple deaths as a result of a lack of oxygen supply and noted as such.
The Bench observed that, “Even the State has not made any serious effort to dispute the veracity of the alleged deaths of several persons in the hospitals due to non-availability of oxygen. Death of citizens, so large in number, is really heart-rending. It is a pity that people are dying in the hospitals due to lack of oxygen.”