- The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that the AAP government’s “laxity” in enforcing Covid-19 guidelines and precautionary measures, “failure” to keep specific commitments on improving healthcare infrastructure and “inability” to increase testing capacity had led to a considerable surge in infections in the capital.
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that the AAP government’s “laxity” in enforcing Covid-19 guidelines and precautionary measures, “failure” to keep specific commitments on improving healthcare infrastructure and “inability” to increase testing capacity had led to a considerable surge in infections in the capital.
AAP reacted strongly. “It is miserable that the central government has chosen to play dirty politics at this critical hour. The affidavit (filed before the court) seems to have been drafted by a BJP spokesperson rather than by the Centre, which is meant to work in collaboration with states at the time of a pandemic. The affidavit is also factually incorrect,” the party said.
Govt seeks to cap Ola, Uber surge price at 1.5x base fare.
Cab aggregators such as Uber and Ola will not be allowed to charge more than 1.5 times of their base fare as surge price during peak demand and less than 50% of the base fare during the non-peak period, according to a set of guidelines issued by the Union road transport ministry to regulate the ride-hailing services.
Commercial car-pool platforms, which will also have to comply with these norms, now need a licence to operate.
The aggregators need to give an option to women passengers to book rides only with other women in case of cab sharing. The regulations, which will be applicable when states notify them, enable the governments to allow attaching personal passenger vehicles to the aggregators.
Delhi govt ignored our repeated pleas to ramp up testing: Centre.
In the affidavit, the Centre said CM Arvind Kejriwal had on November 19 informed that “the expert committee headed by Dr Vinod Paul in their Revised Covid Response Strategy has projected a requirement of 20,604 Covid beds including 6,432 ICU beds in Delhi in November-December”. However, the Delhi government currently has 3,652 ICU beds, which could be increased to 5,128 ICU beds by November 30. The CM requested the Centre to make good the shortfall of 1,214 ICU beds in central government hospitals like AIIMS, Safdarjung, LHMC, RML etc.
N its affidavit filed before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah through solicitor general Tushar Mehta, the Centre further said the CM had committed that Delhi government would increase non-ventilator beds by around 2,680. However, in his November 19 letter to the home minister, he had “expressed his inability to enhance ICU beds in Delhi (state government and private) hospitals by more than around 912, and has asked the central government to create the additional 1,700 ICU beds. Furthermore, it was only after the review meeting of Union home minister on November 15 that it was decided that RT-PCR tests would be enhanced to around 60,000 by the end of November, and that of RAT tests to around 60,000, thus leading to a doubling of the total tests being conducted in Delhi”, it said.
Listing what is termed as failings of the state government, the Centre told the SC, “The Delhi government was aware that the confluence of winter, festival season and pollution was likely to cause a surge in cases. This foreknowledge ought to have led to strict enforcement and IEC measures being instituted well in time. However, this was not done.
“It is also extremely crucial to note here that in a survey of 114 private hospitals in Delhi, which was carried out by the ministry of home affairs during November 17-18, it was found that observance of discharge policy and prescribed clinical management protocol was very lax, thus leading to a large number of patients not being given proper treatment. Delhi government has now been asked to comply with the prescribed protocols in this regard strictly.”
In the same vein, it highlighted that the state government ignored the Centre’s repeated exhortations to increase testing capacity, “particularly for RT-PCR which remained static at around 20,000 for a long time”.
The state government drew critique for other dimensions as well. “The containment measures, as prescribed by the health ministry, including house to house surveillance, contact tracing, quarantining and clinical management, were also not done properly, which has led to the spread of infection. Patients who were under home isolation were not properly traced, and their contacts were also not traced effectively,” it said, adding these lapses led to massive surge requiring consistent monitoring of the situation by the home ministry.