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'Cannot be Allowed to Turn into Another Kumbh': Uttarakhand HC Questions Govt on Char Dham Preparations

Image from Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand's Haridwar.

Image from Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand's Haridwar.

The court has also directed the state government to inform them, by the next date of hearing on May 12, about the availability of vaccines and Remdesivir in the state.

The Uttarakhand High Court has pulled up the state government on what are the preparations for the Char Dham Yatra, which is scheduled to start from May 14.

According to a report by Times of India, the bench of Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma, while hearing a bunch of PILs concerning the state’s handling of the pandemic, made an oral observation that the pilgrimage “cannot be allowed to turn into another Kumbh”. The government in its response said it will soon release Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the yatra.

The court has also directed the state government to inform them, by the next date of hearing on May 12, about the availability of vaccines and Remdesivir in the state. A drug widely prescribed to Covid-19 patients, Remdesivir has been in short supply in Uttarakhand in the past few weeks.

“The court further directed the state to seriously consider sending mobile testing vans to interior regions so people in remote areas can be tested. It said that the number of Covid-dedicated hospitals should be increased, as it currently has only five such hospitals and that is not enough to tackle the pandemic. The government has also been told to increase the number of ICU beds, provide oxygen cylinders and ensure and increase the provision of PPE kits,” Dushyant Mainali, a counsel appearing for one of the petitioners, told TOI.

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The HC has directed secretary (health and finance) Amit Negi to file a detailed report on all these issues by May 12 and be personally present at the next date of hearing before court.

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first published:April 21, 2021, 14:10 IST