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L-G order on hospitals ‘big challenge for people of Delhi, says Kejriwal; AAP claims ‘BJP pressure’

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday informed that for now Delhi hospitals will be available only for the residents of the city.

SNS | New Delhi |

Shortly after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal overruled the decision of the Delhi government on reserving government-run and private hospitals in the national capital for its residents, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the L-G’s order has “created a major problem and challenge for Delhiites.”

Taking to Twitter, the chief minister, who is self-isolation after developing COVID-like symptoms, said providing treatment to people coming from all the over country is a big challenge during COVID-19 pandemic.

Kejriwal, however, said the Delhi government will try to make arrangements to provide treatment to all those coming from outside the national capital.

“LG sahib’s order has created a huge problem and challenge for the people of Delhi. Providing treatment for people coming from all over the country during corona pandemic is a big challenge. May God bless us to serve the people of the country. We will try to provide treatment to all,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

Kejriwal had earlier said that the government received 7.5 lakh suggestions and 90 per cent people said they wanted Delhi hospital beds reserved for the residents of the national capital.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Sunday informed that for now Delhi hospitals will be available only for the residents of the city. At the same time, he clarified that hospitals run by the Centre will have no such restriction, and if people from other states come to the national capital for specific surgeries, they can get medical treatment at private hospitals.

He also said private hospitals, except those where surgeries like neurosurgery, are performed would also be kept reserved for Delhi residents.

He had justified the decision on hospitals citing the report of a panel which stated that Delhi will need 15,000 beds by the end of June and if people of other states are allowed to get treatment, all beds here will be occupied within just three days.

The panel had been appointed by the Delhi government to guide it on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of hospitals to battle COVID-19 in the national capital.

However, the Centre vs State row brewed up once again as Lt. Governor Anil Baijal overruled the order saying, “treatment should not be denied to any patient on grounds of being a non-resident”.

Baijal cited a Delhi High Court ruling and said, “The Delhi High Court in a writ petition ‘Social Jurist, a Civil Rights Group versus GNCTD and Another’ after examining constitutional provisions in details, especially Article 14 and 21, after looking at jurisprudence in this regard, has held that denying patients medical treatment on ground of not being resident of NCT of Delhi is impermissible.”

Baijal, also the Chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, made it clear that the Supreme Court has invariably held in several successive judgements that ‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned in his capacity as the Chairperson of the DDMA, hereby directs all departments and authorities concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that monitoring / treatment is not denied to any patient on the ground of not being a resident of NCT of Delhi,” the order said.

The Aam Aadmi Party reacted sharply to the L-G’s move, alleging that he had been pressured by the BJP which is doing “dirty politics” on the issue.

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia lashed out at the BJP, alleging it has pressured the LG into releasing this order to revoke the AAP government’s decision.

“The BJP should be thinking about the welfare of the people. The BJP should take back the decision, we need wise-management not political management. Support the decisions of the state government,” he said.

Meanwhile, L-G Anil Baijal has also overruled AAP government’s order allowing COVID-19 test for only symptomatic patients.