A plea has been filed in the Karnataka High Court, seeking free tests facility for all COVID-19 suspected patients, either in private or public Labs and availability of proper equipments and infrastructure for the frontline health workers, in addition to arrangement of basic amenities such as food and shelter for poor and marginalized section of the society.
The PIL has been filed by the Know Your Rights Association and is listed for hearing tomorrow, March 30, before the Chief Justice bench.
PPE for Doctors & Healthcare Workers including Ventilators
The plea espouses the concern regarding availability of safety tools, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infrastructural facilities to the frontline healthcare workers. It highlights that the frontline workers, who are directly and primarily exposed to the risk of infection have not been provided with adequate safety tools, as recommended by the WHO.
It is thus prayed that that the concerned state authorities be directed to ensure basic safety tools and adequate supply of COVID-19 testing kits, as recommended by the WHO and other Health Experts, to the frontline health workers.
Free mass COVID19 Testing in both Public & private Labs
The plea also states that since the pandemic is national and global health emergency, the government should arrange free tests facility for all COVID-19 suspected patients, either in private or public Labs.
This will enable the COVID-19 suspects, who are poor and cannot afford immediate treatment, to come forward and get tested.
Free Ration at door steps, shelter for poor & vulnerable
The Petitioner asserts that people working in the unorganized sector have been hit hard by the national lockdown, as they have been rendered jobless and homeless.
"Because of the total shut down of the state machinery without there being proper and adequate arrangement made for the consequences of shut down the poor, the downtrodden, labours of unorganised sector who does not possess any of the means such as shelter, food, clothing, the most vulnerable class of the society such as daily wage labourers, migrant workers, BPL families and destitute have been put to great hardship as they have no adequate means to spend for the basic necessities of sustenance, it is submitted that daily wage labourers earn their livelihood for the day when they work and if there is no work then the whole family is subjected to great misery and starvation," the plea states.
It points out that children, lactating and pregnant women from poor families, who are dependent for nutritious food of Anganwadi centres and mid-day meal schemes, have been rendered helpless as they cannot access these centres for their being a complete lockdown of state.
In view thereof, the Petitioner organization has sought that the concerned state authorities be directed to frame and provide relief of basic facilities of food and shelter to the poor and underprivileged sections of society.
In this regard, it has been suggested that the state may contemplate door step delivery of essential commodities such as food, clean water, medicines, etc., for free, at least for a specified period of 90 days.
Inter alia, the Petitioner also seeks that homeless, beggers, and migrants labour sector families be moved to Govt. shelter homes, so as to provide them adequate space for social distancing to protect their health and lives.
Faculties for Jail Inmates, Hostellers & People living in Other Institutions
The Petitioner has submitted that the inmates in jail and remand homes, juveniles in conflict with law, etc. are lodged and put in cluster of 15 to 20 or more in a single room.
Similar is the state in Govt. Women Hostels, Children Hostels, Shelter Homes for Homeless, Orphanage Homes, Mentally & Physically Challenged Homes and Senior Citizens Homes, etc.
This, the Petitioner asserts, increases their chances of contracting infection and thus, it is prayed that necessary facilities be provided to them to ensure adequate space for social distancing.
Relaxation in all type of bill payments including EMI; Availability of Masks & Sanitizers at reasonable prices
The plea also states that the people from the middle income group will also sustain a huge financial injury due to prevalent crisis. In this regard it points out,
"people from middle class and lower middle class strata who have taken loans from different banks for different necessities such as business loan, home loan, self employment loans due to lockdown resulting in closing down of establishments, shops, industries are getting laid down from jobs, suffering loss in businesses resulting in them not being in a position to service the monthly EMI's."
Thus, it has been prayed that an order be passed, granting exemption to general public from payment of water bills, electricity bills, internet bills and waiving of interest on monthly EMI for a period of two months, until the outbreak of the disease is controlled.
Inter alia, the issue of black marketing of personal hygiene equipments such as masks and sanitizers is also raised and the court has been urged to ensure the availability of such equipments at a reasonable price.
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