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Chamarajanagar Tragedy: Karnataka High Court Orders State to Take Inquiry Panel's Suggestions on Oxygen Shortage into Account

Chamarajanagar Tragedy: Karnataka High Court Orders State to Take Inquiry Panel's Suggestions on Oxygen Shortage into Account

The Karnataka High Court has ordered the state government to take into account the recommendations made by the Karnataka State Legal Service Authority committee, led by retired judge A N Venugopal Gowda, in its fact-finding report submitted to the court in relation to the death of 24 people at a hospital in Chamarajanagar district due to a lack of oxygen.

The bench said, "We are of the opinion that, apart from the conclusion made in the report, other suggestions made by the committee should be considered by the state government immediately." 

On Wednesday (May 5, 2021) the court named the committee and ordered it to submit a report by Monday. The court took the report on record and ordered the KSLSA member secretary to distribute it to all parties so that they can be heard on it tomorrow. 

Apart from the committee's conclusion about the incident, the bench noted in its order that the committee made important recommendations, such as providing a minimum buffer stock of oxygen. Vehicles transporting LMO should have GPS installed. One bottling plant in Mysore city has been found to be inoperable. The state will take urgent action to restore normalcy. GPS should be mounted in vehicles transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen. One bottling plant in Mysore city has also been discovered to be inoperable. 

The court said, "The state government will take immediate measures to restore its functioning." The state government also filed a memo claiming that the May 3 order appointing an IAS officer to investigate the death of 24 people at the Chamarajanagar incident will not be carried out.

Remdesivir's Availability

The court was told by Additional Solicitor General M B Nargund that the central government had raised the quota for remdesivir medicine supply to the state in response to the court's orders. 

"As of May 6, a total of 3,01,000 vials is allocated to the state of Karnataka. As per a decision taken on May 7, the quota has been increased to 5,75,000 vials per day, up to May 16. The functioning of it will be about 40,000 per day. Furthermore, on May 14 or 15, a fresh decision for revising the allotment quota will be taken," it was noted.

Nargund also stated that the court issued a statement stating that remdesivir should only be used in moderate and serious cases, which is not the case and said, "Some of our hospitals are giving remdesivir as aspirin tablets."

"Use of this drug, now some kind of audit is needed, when is it to be used and when it is appropriate," the court said orally, agreeing with the submission.

The court stated in its order: "The claimant in IA 4, 2021, as well as ASG, submitted information about the drug's needless and improper use. The Indian government has developed guidelines for the use of the drug in question."

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