13 Dec 2012
The state's urban pockets have reported more violators of the Pre–Conception and Pre–Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prevention of sex determination) (PCPNDT) Act with the state health department sealing the highest number of sonography machines in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad. A total of 662 sonography machines across the state have been sealed so far.
Higher density of such centres in cities and special cells formed at the municipal corporation level to oversee effective implementation of the Act are being considered as the main reasons for more violations being registered in cities but observers note the figures are still unhealthy.
The state health department's latest report, released at the 10th State Supervisory Board's meeting held in Nagpur on December 10, also shows how Beed, Jalgaon, Akola, Aurangabad and Nanded too have contributed significantly to this disturbing trend, with many ultrasound centres in each of these cities sealed.
"Health officials have sealed 662 sonography machines in Maharashtra between April 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012. This has resulted in temporary closure of the centres where these machines were installed," said Asaram Khade, consultant to the state health department for implementation of the PCPNDT Act.
A shaken state government had started cracking down upon sonography centres soon after the provisional figures of census 2011 came out, showing a 30 point dip in the child sex ratio from 913 in 2001 to 883 in 2011. The drop was worrisome for the entire state but Marathwada in particular.
While the child sex ratio had declined by 30 or more points in 14 districts, 7 of these districts – Jalgaon, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Washim, Buldhana and Beed – had shown a decline of more than 50 points. Incidentally, the number of ultrasound centres violating the provisions of the act in these seven districts was found to be higher than other parts of the state.
Officials said the provisional findings of the census 2011 required a comprehensive action to stop sex determination and sex selective abortions. "It was, therefore, decided at state level to undertake an inspection drive of all such centres as per the provisions of the PCPNDT Act. The drive started on June 13 in Beed district last year and went on to cover all districts in the state. The surprise inspection of both sonography centres as well as medical termination of pregnancy centres, which are government recognised abortion clinics, are being conducted on a regular basis since then," said Khade. There are 7,554 sonography centres in the state which are being raided and inspected routinely, he added.
Various provisions under which the sonography machines have been sealed include improper maintenance of record, non submission of reports, incomplete Fforms, presence of unregistered sonography machines, conduct of sonography by unregistered and unauthorised doctors, non–display of the mandatory instructions under the PCPNDT Act and several other breaches of the Act.
The highest number of machines (165) have been sealed in Nashik circle with 44 machines sealed in the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) limits. A total of 39 machines were sealed in sonography centres operating in rural parts of the Nashik district. Besides, 33 machines have been sealed in Jalgaon so far.
Nashik Circle is the administrative division comprising Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nashik, Nandurbar, Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, Dhule Municipal Corporation, Jalgaon Municipal Corporation, Nashik Municipal Corporation and Malegaon Municipal Corporation
After Nashik, 142 sonography machines have been sealed in Thane circle with 45 machines getting sealed in limits of Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). A total of 34 machines have been sealed in Kalyan Dombivali and 27 machines in the limits of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation.
Thane circle comprises Raigad, Ratnagiri, Thane, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Thane Municipal Corporation, Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation, Meera Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation, Vasai Virar Municipal Corporationj and Ulhasnagar Municipal CorporationCities reporting highest number of violators
- Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation 45
- Nashik Municipal Corporation 44
- Pune Municipal Corporation 44
- Aurangabad Municipal Corporation 36
- Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation 29 Number of machines sealed between April 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012
Latur circle 98
(Beed, Nanded, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded Municipal corporation)
Aurangabad circle 71
(Aurangabad (rural), Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Aurangabad Municipal Corporation)
Akola circle 52
(Amaravati, Buldhana, Yeotmal, Washim, Akola Municipal Corporation, Amaravati Municipal Corporation)
Nagpur circle 29
(Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Nagpur (rural), Wardha, Gondia, Nagpur Municipal Corporation)
Nashik circle 165
(Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon (rural), Nashik (rural), Nandurbar, Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, Dhule Municipal Corporation, Jalgaon Municipal Corporation, Nashik Municipal Corporation, Malegaon Municipal Corporation)
Pune circle 72
(Pune (rural), Solapur, PMC, PCMC, Solapur Municipal Corporation)
Kolhapur circle 33
(Satara, Kolhapur (rural), Sangli, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, Sangli Municipal Corporation)
Thane circle 142
(Raigad, Ratnagiri, Thane (rural), Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Thane Municipal Corporation, Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation, Meera Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation)