PMC Forms Squads to Stop Sex-Determination Tests
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01 July 2011
Under pressure from political parties and civic activists, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Thursday formed four squads to keep a check on doctors who conduct sex-determination tests and abortions of unwanted pregnancy. Each squad is headed by a ward medical officer with six members which will conduct surprise visits at sonography and medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) centres in the city. Municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak had said on Wednesday that sex determination is a 'social' problem and corporation cannot conduct sting operations.
The statement drew criticism from corporators. The PMC recently announced that maternity homes run by it will begin maintaining ante-natal care (ANC) and post-natal care (PNC) records. Pathak said that such a measure will not only help check female foeticide, but also provide a record of women's health. The city's sex ratio at birth (girls born per 1,000 boys in a year) dipped to 879 in 2010 as compared to 886 in 2009.
Corporators across party lines have demanded stringent action against sonography centres that violate the provisions of the PCPNDT (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act. The demand was raised after the civic administration, in a reply to corporator Sunil Bankar's written question, admitted that the PMC has taken action against just 34 erring sonography centres in last 11 years and only 12 centre owners have been fined by the court. "The civic administration is pretending to take action. The health department is not at all serious,"said former mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale.