Srinagar: The J&K High Court directed state government on Monday to ensure that swine flu does not cause “further damage” even as it sought details about paraphernalia in place to tackle the deadly virus in the Kashmir Valley.
Admitting a Public Interest Litigation seeking measures to curb the H1N1 virus in the Valley, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the government to delineate steps taken so for treating patients who suffer from the disease.
“The issue raised in this petition is of serious nature, respondent-State, who is custodian of rights of people is duty bound to take all precautionary, preventive steps to ensure that the HIN1 influenza does not cause further damage to human lives,” the bench said.
More than half a dozen people have died and nearly two hundred others have tested positive for the virus in last few weeks in the Valley alone.
“(State) shall inform the court as to what steps have been taken till date for treating patients who suffer from the disease and what is the paraphernalia in place to tackle (it).”
Given the gravity of the issue, the bench also impleaded Ministry of Health, Government of India as “party respondent” and issued it notice along with state of J&K through Chief Secretary, Director SKIMS, Director Health Services Kashmir and Director School Education Kashmir.
Assistant Solicitor General of India S. A. Makroo accepted notice on behalf of the Ministry of Health, and all the respondents were directed to file reply by next date of hearing in the PIL on March 9.
Besides seeking directions to take necessary precautionary measure by providing vaccination to general public, the petitioner, advocate Syed Ajaz Ahmad Qadri, also urged court to command them to make drugs and vaccines available in all the hospitals.
The PIL also seeks directions to vaccinate school going children as well as the employees of hospitals.
Qadri has highlighted need for checking the spread of virus before it goes beyond control in Srinagar especially crowded places like hospitals and the High Court.
“People from village to urban areas attend patients in the hospitals and they need to be protected and special arrangement requires to be made before disease will go beyond the control,” he said.
The people, he said, are in fear about the virus and precautionary measures are required to be put in school and other public places including airport.
The guidelines issued by the Health Department, Qadri said, have created doubt in the mind of the “literate as well as illiterate masses.”