Task Force to check illegal practice; DC Dr. K.V. Rajendra, MP Pratap Simha ask officers to be vigilant
Mysore/Mysuru: Tightening the noose around those involved in conducting illegal sex determination tests, the District Administration, the Mysuru City Corporation and the office of the District Health Officer will conduct thorough inspections of ultrasound machines, records, doctors’ names and registrations, trade licences and past records of all clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres. These inspections will span from the village level to the city level.
This decision comes after a nine-member gang including two doctors were arrested in Mysuru, Mandya and Bengaluru by Byappanahalli Police of Bengaluru uncovering a major sex determination racket.
The racket flourished at the now shut Mathaa Hospital at Udayagiri and Ayurvedic Piles Daycare Centre on Rajkumar Road. During interrogation, the accused admitted to aborting approximately 900 foetuses over the span of two years.
The issue came up during the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committees (DISHA) meeting held this morning at Abdul Nazeer Saab auditorium, ZP Office premises, chaired by Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha.
A District-level Task Force will be constituted to put an end to the illegal and unethical practice and the Task Force will have control over District, Taluk and Gram Panchayat-level teams. In the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) limits, a team of MCC officials, Police and the District Health Officer will be constituted.
Check for unregistered ultrasonography
“Inspections of such centres across Mysuru and prosecution of those found to be violating the ban on sex determination tests has to be started immediately. Check if there are unregistered ultrasonography (machines that produce images of what is inside the body) and seize them in case of violations. Also check the records of ultrasounds done or forms that have been filled up before the test is taken,” Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr. K.V. Rajendra told the officers.
The DC highlighted the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, often known as the Prohibition of Sex Selection Act. According to the Act, it is forbidden to employ any method to determine a foetus’ gender after conception. This was put into effect to stop the widespread practice of abortion of female foetuses in India, he noted. As per PCPNDT Act, any person found guilty can be imprisoned for five years and a financial penalty of Rs. 1 lakh can be imposed.
Dr. Rajendra said that there has to be a mechanism in place wherein the Health Department and the Police conduct joint raids in suspected centres. Also, at the village level, Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are a major source of information on such centres. The staff at the PHC can track such centres and report to the higher authorities in the Health Department to curb this menace, he added.
Cancellation of licences
The DC called for renewed focus on areas where the illegal foetal sex determination was prevalent as indicated in the poor sex ratio at birth. He also instructed the respective departments to issue notices to all scan centres warning them against carrying out ultrasound without the mandatory registration numbers. The ultrasound centres must be warned of cancellation of licences for any violation of the instructions.
While inspecting the scanning centres and hospitals, the teams must check registration of the machine, whose name it was procured, its model, date of procurement, any repairs, if previous machines have been discarded or given to scrap dealers, full data of patients tested and records provided.
Zilla Panchayat CEO K.M. Gayathri, MCC Commissioner Ashaad-ur-Rahman Shariff, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr. P.C. Kumaraswamy and other officers attended the meeting.