Chandigarh Tricity Gets Covid Coordinating Committee
Facing criticism for poor coordination of tricity in the management of Covid, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab decided on Tuesday to form a committee made up of UT deputy commissioners, Panchkula and Mohali.
The committee will meet twice a week online and coordinate on various issues relating to the management of Covid-19, such as lockdown restrictions, hospitals, supply lines and vaccinations.
The three administrations were forced to take action after instructions from the High Court of Punjab and Haryana regarding the establishment of a unified command center for the triconic management of Covid.
The bench of judges Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh, who heard a petition relating to the outbreak of Covid-19, observed last week: “If a common strategy is developed, it may be easier to tackle the current crisis. In the event that there is a common platform to deliberate on the strategies to be adopted, it would be easier to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. “
On Tuesday, the governor of Punjab and vice-president administrator of UT, Singh Badnore, called a meeting of the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana.
At the meeting, it was also decided that the director of health services of Mohali, Panchkula and Chandigarh will also meet twice a week by video conference to decide on a uniform and coordinated approach to the medical treatment of patients with Covid, under the direction of the Post Graduate Institute. of medical training and research (PGIMER).
In the event of an emergency, anywhere in the tricity, the authorities concerned will provide themselves with oxygen, drugs and medical equipment, such as ventilators, to avoid any untoward incident.
UT will also ask the High Court for a separate quota of 5 metric tons of liquid medical oxygen, exclusively for PGIMER.
Even though tricity is a de facto unique urban complex, the three administrations have struggled to have a uniform policy for managing Covid. The varied nighttime curfew schedules, lockdown restrictions and not helping each other have hampered the handling of the pandemic.
Notably, the three CDs are already attending the regular Covid review meeting chaired by the UT administrator, but this has not resulted in improved coordination.
“As part of state government policy formulation, local CDs have a very limited say. UT’s attempts to regularly involve senior officials in the coordination of tricity have not yielded positive results. This has been the case during the pandemic and also before in the management of other important issues. For example, in the current scenario, a committee comprising health secretaries from the three governments could have been formed, ”said a senior official in Chandigarh, requesting anonymity.
The institutionalized inter-state coordination mechanism for tricity is dormant. Such a supreme body – the Interstate Coordination Committee – has not met in the past six years.
R Srinivas, town planner and planner, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said: “An interstate coordination committee for the three administrations was set up by the Center in 1975. Its last meeting was held in 2016, but since then then it is dormant. . The committee includes chief secretaries from the three governments and secretaries from Union ministries. “
Likewise, the supreme committee of the tricity, composed of the administrator of the UT and the chief secretaries, has not met for more than a year and a half. Most of its previous recommendations also remain largely on paper. For example, a committee headed by the UT advisor, set up to review and resolve tricity health and transport issues, has little to show for results.
Even the Northern Zone Council, headed by the Union Home Minister, last met about two years ago. The meetings of the council are attended by the chief ministers of the state as well as the administrator of the UT.
Urvashi Gulati, former chief secretary, Haryana, said: “Formal institutions have always been there for coordination between the three governments. Although in normal times there have been cases of lack of emergency, current circumstances demand maximum coordination so that the impact of the pandemic can be minimized. ”