Bihar imposes lockdown till May 15


A day after Patna High Court rapped state government over its failure in controlling Covid-19 situation and asked it to enforce lockdown in the state, else the court would take appropriate decision on it, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that lockdown will be imposed in the state till May 15.

“After having discussion with colleague ministers and officials yesterday it has been decided to impose lockdown in Bihar till May 15’ 2021. The crisis management group has been directed to execute its detail guidelines and other activities today itself”, tweeted chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday.

Earlier on Monday, the Patna HC, had observed that the state government had failed in controlling Covid-19 situation in the state and asked the goverbment to “enforce lockdown or the court will order it”.

Earlier, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bihar chapter and heads of four government hospitals too had sought 15-days lockdown in the state.

“It is like complete failure, as infection seems to be unabated. The government seems to be gripped in a state of indecision”, observed the division bench of the Patna HC comprising justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and justice Mohit Kumar Shah on Monday.

The court also said that the state needed complete lockdown in the state and asked advocate general of the state Lalit Kishore to speak to the chief minister on it. “Either the state government declares lockdown or the court will have to pass an appropriate order”, the court said in an oral observation while directing Mr Kishore to inform the government’s decision on Tuesday.

The court’s observation came after director of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Patna which was marked as a covid-19 hospital by the government, had said that it had only 200 beds available, including 60 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and it could not admit more patients due to irregular and short supply of oxygen and lack of manpower as well.

The division bench of the Patna HC has been hearing bunch of PILs on Covid-19 for nearly three weeks and been passing observations to the state government from time to time.

“We had directed the state government to prepare a comprehensive action plan for covid-19 management on April 15 and since then we’ve been reiterating during every hearing on the PILs of the pandemic but, to no avail”, observed the court while adding, “there is no action plan with you. Whatever plan you’ve submitted, it’s not upto the mark and no effective steps have been taken since April 15. Everything is eyewash”.

While slamming the state government further, the court observed that “you (the state government) are handicapped and banking just on the health department authorities who are submitting farce reports”. “There is no advisory committee of experts yet with the state government even after it had ordered to form the one earlier”, the court observed.

The bench also took note of the black marketing of essential drugs and oxygen.

Earlier, while expressing displeasure over the state government’s lack of preparation over tackling surge of Covid-19 across the state, the Patna HC had advertised its own email address for people to lodge their requirements and complaints.

On Monday the Bihar chapter of the Indian Medical Association and heads of four government hospitals in Patna too had urged the government to impose for 15-days lockdown in the state.

“The medical experts view must be taken into consideration. IMA, Bihar chapter urges government to impose 15-days lockdown in the state to curb the surge of Covid-19”, Dr Ajay Kumar, vice-president of IMA, Bihar chapter said.

Earlier some Opposition leaders too had demanded that lockdown should be imposed across the state “to break the chain of the surge of covid-19”.

However, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar along with top officials of the state had made a round of some parts of Patna on Monday to take stock of covid-19 restrictions followed by common people and the administrative officials as well.

Mr Kumar is expected to hold meetings with members of the crisis management group on Tuesday to take decision on whether lockdown would be imposed in the state or not.

However, sources in the government told The Hindu that state government might mull over weekend or complete lockdown in the state in the meeting to contain the surge of Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

Facing acute shortage of oxygen, beds, ant-viral drugs and manpower in hospitals Bihar on Monday reported 1,07,667 active cases and 5,09,047 positive cases. As many as 2,821 deaths due to Covid-19 have been reported in the state so far with 78.29% of recovery rate.

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