The Supreme Court has formed a 12-member National Task Force to look into the availability and distribution of medical oxygen on a rational basis across the country.
A two-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah also spoke to the members of the task force.
“The rationale for constituting a Task Force at a national level is to facilitate public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialized 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.
The court said the force will help formulate scientific strategies to deal with the crisis. The task force’s reports will be submitted to the centre and the court.
Dr. Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director of Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice-Chancellor of the West Bengal University, two government representatives, and a cabinet secretary will be part of the task force.
Earlier the court had asked for an oxygen audit and accountability for stocks. The court also wanted to know the status of preparation as far as the third wave of COVID was concerned.
Oxygen shortage in India
The country has been facing a shortage of oxygen with many hospitals in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi sending out SOS. Several deaths have been reported due to a shortage of oxygen across the country. The Delhi government had also moved the high court to seek 700 MT of oxygen for the capital.
The Supreme Court had also directed the centre to provide the oxygen that Delhi and even Karnataka had demanded.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Kerala Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking more oxygen.
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