Following the Telangana High Court's stay on the state government's order restricting the entry of ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients from neighbouring states, ambulances from Andhra Pradesh were allowed into Telangana. The ambulances were seen crossing the border freely from Friday night itself, soon after the High Court's interim order barring the state government from stopping such vehicles at the border.
Several ambulances were stopped and turned away at Suryapet and Gadwal state borders earlier, as the state had made it mandatory to possess a prior authorisation from the COVID-19 control room through the hospital to which the patients are being taken.
As per the reports, as of Friday, around 40 ambulances from Andhra Pradesh were forced to return from the Pullur toll plaza when they tried to cross the state border on the way to Hyderabad. A similar situation played out at the Ramapuram cross border post near Suryapet.
While hearing a petition filed by retired IRS officer GV Krishna Rao, a bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy of the Telangana High Court stayed the governmentâ€™s order. While suspending the circular, the High Court directed the Telangana government to not circumvent the directions of the court, even as the PILâ€™s hearing remains pending. The bench also directed the state to provide assistance through control rooms to patients and their bystanders who wish to travel to Telangana for treatment.
The Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh pleaded for the state in this hearing. The case was further posted to June 17. The High Court observed that such restrictions on ambulance services will be a violation of the fundamental rights of individuals.
The Chief Secretary of Telangana had issued an order which had said that only those patients carrying proof of prior appointments with hospitals in Telangana, as well as an authorisation letter from the state government, would be allowed to enter its borders. The families of the patients were being brought to Hyderabad from Andhra Pradesh for better treatment owing to the high number of private hospitals in Hyderabad. Telangana government authorities claimed that as Hyderabad is a medical hub, around 50% of the beds in the cityâ€™s hospitals were occupied by patients coming from Andhra, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.