UP Still Not Serious on PCPNDT Act
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14 July 2010
Even as the child sex ratio continues to decline in the state, reportedly due to increase in female feoticide, the state government, it seems, is not taking implementation of the pre–conception and pre–natal diagnostic technique (prohibition of sex determination) – PCPNDT Act – seriously.
The meetings of the state supervisory board, state inspection and monitoring committee and state advisory committee have not been held since last over one year. As per the PCPNDT Act, the meetings of these statutory bodies should be held regularly, along with surprise inspections of ultrasound and diagnostic centres.
Now sample this: The Jaunpur district administration launched a drive against medical centres violating the provisions of PCPNDT Act from March 27 to April 1, but dropped it following political pressure. In four days, 10 centres were found to be flouting norms. However, before district authorities could take any action, the then district magistrate (DM) Aparna U first went on leave and then was transferred. The new DM, Gaurav Dayal, took some time to understand the matter after taking charge.
Later, registration of four centres was cancelled, operation of one was suspended for three months and two others for one month. The decision in one case is pending and another one was left with a warning. No legal action such as filing of case in the court under the PCPNDT Act has been taken by the administration so far.
All this when the teams which conducted raids caught centres with sufficient evidence to register cases against alleged offenders. While DM was not available for comments, city magistrate B M Mishra said that action has been taken.
But sources said that a few of the‘offenders’ have started the business in another name. Over two dozen ultrasound and diagnostic centres are still operating illegally. However, no raids were conducted after April. Sources also said the district administration and its officials went on backfoot following threat from a mafia–turned–politician and political pressure.
The raids had found that in one case the machine was locked in a room but the work was underway through back door, in another a doctor couple, both in the government service, were running a Centre registered in the name of a doctor based in Varanasi.
Paramedical staff was conducting tests in the absence of doctors. In some cases, one doctor was found enrolled in number of Centres. The raids were launched in response to the report published in TOI on March 12 based on the government study report which revealed that the ultrasound and in–vitro fertilisation centres have doubled in UP in past 10 years, whereas the child sex ratio has come down to 827 in 2008 from 898 in 2001. Of over 3,600 medical centres with ultrasound service, one–third are being run by ineligible people.
Regarding Jaunpur, the report stated that the district has around 57 medical centres having ultrasound facilities, of which 18 are allegedly being run in unauthorised manner. Apart from sex determination, there is also a risk of misdiagnosis of diseases in these unauthorised medical centres.
Like Jaunpur, raids conducted in June last year by the state inspection and monitoring committee in Kaushambi had found lapses in several ultrasound and diagnostic centres. But no action was taken thereafter. Even the state inspection and monitoring committee has not conducted any raid in last one year.