Maharashtra targets sonography centres
Faced with a declining sex ratio, the Maharashtra government has cracked down on sonography centres in the State and sealed 282 of them so far.
Public Health Minister Suresh Shetty told the Assembly that of the total 7939 registered sonography centres in Maharashtra, 6517 had been checked so far. The State will implement the Preconception and Prenatal diagnostic techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act, 1994 in letter and in spirit, Mr. Shetty said in response to a notice by Shishir Shinde of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and others calling his attention to the issue.
The sonography centres will be closely checked over the year and action will be taken against erring doctors. So far there are 182 cases in court, 46 of them had drawn to a close, with 17 convictions.
Mr. Shetty said the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court had ordered speedy disposal of the cases, some of which have been pending for six to eight years now. The aim is to complete them by December 31, 2011. Special lawyers will be appointed in every district for such cases and they will be taken up on priority.
Parli in Beed district came under the spotlight with the finding of some foetuses on the road in June. The police registered a case against Dr. Sudam Munde and his wife after these abandoned female foetuses were discovered. After a crackdown, 30 sonography machines were sealed in Beed district, which is emerging as a female foeticide capital of the state. The government has been conducting several sting operations to trap doctors who are revealing the sex of the unborn foetus.
It has also started a helpline and a website on the issue.