Hyderabad, July 21 With Telangana High Court repeatedly pulling up the state government for its poor handling of COVID-19 situation, top officials on Tuesday said that despite their untiring efforts to check the pandemic, the court's remarks were "painful".
A day after the High Court summoned Chief Secretary and five other top officials and warned that heads will roll for not ignoring its directions repeatedly, a meeting presided over by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao reviewed the situation.
Officials who attended the meeting felt that everybody is filing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and the High Court continued to accept them for hearing.
Medical and Health Minister E. Rajender, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Principal Secretary (Medical and Health) Syed Murtuza Rizvi, Principal Secretary (Finance) Ramakrishna Rao, several heads of medical departments, Srinivas, Ramesh Reddy, Karunakar Reddy, Gangadhar and others attended the meeting held at the Chief Minister's official residence Pragati Bhavan.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister's Office, several participants expressed their opinions on the High Court expressing its anger despite the fact that the government and medical staff are working with commitment with regard to taking measures to contain the virus, conducting the tests and the treatment.
"On the Corona issue, every other person is going to the High Court. So far, the High Court has admitted 87 Public Interest Litigations. Due to the daily hearings, the officials are facing problems and hardship. Senior doctors and other officials, who are working day and night giving treatment to the needy, are forced to spend more of their time running to the Court.
In this hour of crisis, these senior officials had to leave their primary duty and are spending time to prepare for the court hearing and to attend the hearings. With this, they have not been able to render cent percent justice to their duties."
They claimed that compared to other states in the country, the situation in Telangana is better. The mortality rate is low but yet the state government and the medical officers are working to the best of their ability. The state administration is ready to provide medical treatment to any number of patients whatever may be their number. "Everyday thousands of tests are done. It is painful that though so much has been done, yet the High Court made some comments."
They pointed out that earlier someone filed a petition seeking directions to conduct tests on the dead bodies.
"The High Court gave orders in their favour. Taking into consideration the factual situation, the Supreme Court had set aside the High Court orders. But yet, PILs are being filed in the High Court and the High Court is admitting them. With the Court hearing 87 PILs, it is inconvenient for the Chief Secretary, principal secretary, hospital superintendents concerned when the High Court is summoning them. The precious time of the medical and other senior officials is spent on attending the Court hearings."
"Based on the comments made by the High Court, some media organisations are also reporting in such a way to convey that the state government is not doing anything on the matter. This is shattering the morale of the medical staff who are rendering the services putting their own lives at stake."
According to the statement, the Chief Minister gave a patient hearing to the opinions expressed and directed the officials concerned to file an affidavit in the High Court on conducting the investigative tests, treatment given and precautions taken while administering the treatment with all facts.
For the High Court hearing, the officials should submit all the information that the Court sought and inform it about the work done, he said.
The High Court on Monday directed six top officials, including the Chief Secretary, to appear before it on July 28.
The court asked the government to respond why no action should be taken against the officials who are repeatedly ignoring its orders.
A division comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy expressed its unhappiness over the government not implementing orders passed by it on earlier occasions.
This is the fourth time the court has pulled up the government and expressed its displeasure over the poor handling of the pandemic in the state.
"This is the fourth and last chance given to the government ..or else the court would make sure that heads start rolling," the bench remarked.
The court made some serious remarks on the way the government is handling the situation and took it to task for not implementing its earlier orders for conducting more COVID-19 tests, providing better treatment facilities, maintaining transparency and disseminating all the information to people.
( With inputs from IANS )