HC takes a dim view of order by Sudhakar

The High Court of Karnataka, which is monitoring the progress of process to procure hi-tech ambulance services, on Monday took serious exception to an order passed by the Health and Medical Education Minister cancelling the tender process in the absence of any document in the official file in support of his decision.

As Minister K. Sudhakar had cited discussion in various “public forum” and “expert opinion” as the reason for cancelling the tender but there was no document in the official file on such views, the court directed the government to file an affidavit explaining in which public forum the tender issue to procure hi-tech ambulance service was discussed and who is the expert who has given opinion.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, issued the direction during the hearing of a PIL petition filed by Bharat Punarothana Trust, Bengaluru.

It was pointed out to the court that the government wanted to purchase more ambulances for less number of population than one planned in the tender besides introducing better technology.

The government last November floated a tender at an estimated cost of ₹1,800 crore to procure one ambulance for every 92,000 persons in the State with hi-tech facilities and the court had decided to monitor the procurement process to ensure that there is no delay in procument of ambulances to ensure that people get quick assistance during medical emergencies.

The government had implemented a simple solution of establishing telephonic coordination between the police control room and the ambulance operator for quick movement of ambulances in cities like Bengaluru as suggested by the High Court in September last year and had told the court that the proposed hi-tech ambulance service would address all the issues including movement of ambulances in heavy traffic. The court in September 2020 declined to grant five months to the government to complete procurement of new hi-tech ambulance services while emphasising urgency at larger public interest.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 11:15:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-takes-a-dim-view-of-order-by-sudhakar/article33604113.ece

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