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The Times Of India
23 June 2012

Sarvoday Blood Bank, which has come under the scanner after the Gujarat High Court on Thursday raised questions about its "illegal functioning", has been functional on paper at the Junagadh Civil Hospital for the last 40 years.

The blood bank is run by Sarvoday Trust headed by BJP MLA from Junagadh Mahendra Mashroo.

Though the blood bank has allegedly been functioning without a licence, doubts were raised for the first time when 23 thalassemic children who had been given blood there tested HIV positive in January last year.

Since then, three departmental inquires – two by state’s health department and one by Food and Drug Control Administration — were held. All gave the blood bank a clean chit.

Hearing a PIL filed in connection with the thalassemic children contracting HIV at Junagadh Civil Hospital, the HC on Thursday criticised the state government for allowing the blood bank’s operations without a licence.

It also criticised the routine activities by the trust, including arranging donors.

Mashroo, however, said the controversy has not hit the blood bank’s functioning.

"On Friday, there were seven donors for the thalassemic children who came for blood transfusion at Junagadh Civil Hospital. Five of these children were among the 23 who had tested HIV positive last year," he said.

"Sarvoday Blood Bank is involved only in the finding donors. The rest, including collection, test and storage of blood, is the job of hospital authorities," the MLA said.

For several years now, the blood bank has been allotted two premises by local administration, one at Junagadh Civil Hospital and another at Junagadh Municipal Corporation building.

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