The Karnataka High Court on May 12 took exception to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for reportedly not taking over the ad hoc COVID-19 treatment facility set up by the Indian Air Force. This at a time when the state, especially the capital city Bengaluru, is reeling under a severe crisis of oxygen, ICU and ventilator beds.
While the BBMP counsel said that they have taken over 30 out of the 100 beds, the Union government counsel told the court that none were taken. "We direct the Chief Commissioner of BBMP to take immediate steps to take over the facility within 24 hours from now. Ensure the facility is made operational,â€ť the HC bench led by Chief Justice Oka said.
â€śThough the facility was offered on May 4, complete failure on part of the BBMP is seen to take over the facility. Failure starts when there are few beds available in the city,â€ť the bench added.
On a similar issue, the state government was also ordered to give an explanation about why beds offered by the Railways Ministry were not taken over as directed during earlier hearings.
Noting that it is high time that the state starts preparing to deal with a possible third wave of infections, the HC directed the state to place on record a vision plan within two weeks.
The HC also noted that there is a huge gap in the supply and demand going by the Union government's projection. The state government had on May 11 said that 45,754 beds supported by oxygen, 5,305 ICU beds and 4,109 beds with ventilators are available. The Union government has projected that the state needs 66,333 oxygen supported beds, 13,969 ICU beds and 8,332 ventilator beds. The numbers were estimated following a model where the Union government predicts 8.5% active cases will require oxygen beds and 3% will require oxygen beds.
In this regard, the HC noted that neither the district-wise breakup of availability of beds nor a district-wise estimate has been placed on record.