SC Sets Up National Task Force To Assess Oxygen Distribution Amid COVID-19 Surge

Representational image (ANI)

The Supreme Court on Saturday set up a National Task Force for an effective and transparent mechanism for allocating medical oxygen in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the second wave of pandemic.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud, constituted National Task Force (NTF) to assess and recommend the need and distribution of oxygen in the country. “The Union Government shall continue with the present practice of making allocations of oxygen (as modified by the orders of this Court or the orders of the High Courts as the case may be) until the Task Force has submitted its recommendation in regard to the proposed modalities”, the apex court said in its order.

The court said that the union government shall on receipt of the recommendations of the Task Force take an appropriate decision in regard to the allocation of oxygen and on all other recommendations.

“The Task Force shall also submit its recommendations from time to time to this court. We request the Task Force to commence work immediately,” the top court said.

The court said that the National Task Force shall consist of the following 12 members:
Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, Former Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata; Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu; Dr JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu; Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram; Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai, Maharashtra) and Kalyan (Maharashtra); Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi; Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician and Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be ex officio member.

The Cabinet Secretary will be convenor of the National Task Force as also a member. The Cabinet Secretary may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.

For carrying out the above audit exercise for NCTD, the audit sub-group shall consist of AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria who is Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep and Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Clinical Director & Director – Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare; and An IAS officer, each from the Union Government and GNCTD, not below the rank of Joint Secretary.

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