‘Rohini Sindhuri had no role in allotting oxygen to Chamarajanagar district’
Bengaluru: The Fact-Finding Committee constituted by the Karnataka High Court (HC) to look into the Chamarajanagar COVID deaths has given a clean chit to former Mysuru Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rohini Sindhuri, stating she did not have any role in allotting oxygen to Chamarajanagar district.
The three-member Committee of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, headed by Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda and Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana, retired Judges, and S.T. Ramesh, retired DG&IGP, was appointed by the High Court to probe the Chamarajanagar District Hospital tragedy where 24 COVID patients died due to lack of oxygen on May 2 and May 3, 2021.
The Committee has concluded that 24 patients died as the Chamarajanagar district authorities failed to provide oxygen to the patients on time between 11 pm on May 2 and early hours on May 3. The panel has dismissed allegations against Rohini Sindhuri where the officer was accused of directing her staff to first ensure that the oxygen requirements of Mysuru should be ensured before supplying oxygen to other districts.
The Committee also cleared the allegations against the former Mysuru DC that she did not respond well to the oxygen crisis in Chamarajanagar. The Committee stated that there is no substance in the allegations.
Suggesting a slew of measures to prevent such tragedies in the future, the Committee has stated that the compensation for the victims would be decided by the Court of Law. Records and the hard discs of CCTVs/DVRs have to be retained in the safe custody of the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, the Committee has stated.
Recommending that a minimum buffer stock of oxygen to last for 24 hours should be ensured in all the hospitals, the Committee has stated that an officer higher in rank than the DC of the district should be appointed to coordinate the allotment and distribution of oxygen to various District Hospitals in future.
Onus on Regional Commissioner
The Regional Commissioner, Mysuru, should be the oxygen coordinating authority for Mysuru Division, since Mysuru bottling plants and refilling units cater to the requirements not only of Mysuru but also those of Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu and Hassan districts, the Committee has stated.
Maintenance of records regarding receipt, consumption and balance of oxygen stock should be uniform throughout the State and such a record should indicate the balance of oxygen stock on a real-time basis. The real-time oxygen balance should also be displayed digitally at all hospitals, the Committee has recommended.
It should be made compulsory that all vehicles carrying refilled medical oxygen cylinders should be installed with GPS. Such trucks should also have a covered body which should be locked and sealed before dispatch, to be opened by the consignees only, the HC panel has said.
The bottling plant, M/s Trinetra, in Mysuru city is non-functional. In times of high oxygen demand and shortages, the Government should take proactive steps to revive and ensure that non-functional bottling plants like Trinetra are made operational as early as possible, the Committee has observed.
All COVID hospitals must be provided with four levels of oxygen source — oxygen generation plants in all the hospitals having 100 or more oxygenated beds, liquid oxygen tanks of appropriate capacity commensurate with the demand of the hospital, jumbo cylinders and oxygen concentrators — the Committee has stated.