The Jharkhand High Court on Friday criticised the state government and Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) for failure to procure and set up a genome sequencing machine even after two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic had ravaged the country.

Jharkhand’s active caseload currently stands close to 15,000 as per last night’s bulletin. But the state health department is not aware to what extent the new fast-spreading Omicron variant was responsible for the spread, the court observed.

division bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad wondered why the court had to prod the government to fulfil its responsibility towards the people. Taking a dig at the state government, the bench asked whether the authorities would wake up from their slumber after cremation grounds were full.

The court has ordered both the state government and RIMS to file separate affidavits on the status of acquiring a genome sequencing machine.

Health department sources said a genome sequencing machine had been ordered from the US company, Illumina, on January 1, 2022, and that it was expected to reach the state by mid-February.