3,000 sonography centres in state down shutters
Experts say closure happened following the strict implementation of PCPNDT Act under which centers have to provide documents of each sonography test to prove that no sex determination test has been conducted.
Apart from around 350 sonography centres sealed by the state government for violating various provisions of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 over 2,500 sonography centres have voluntarily been closed down by their owners.
According to officials from the PCPNDT cell, licences of many of these centres could not be renewed due to lack of proper documentation.
The PCPNDT Act, which bans pre natal sex determination, was amended in 2003 to improve regulation of technology used for sex selction. Around 8,988 sonography machines are registered with the state PCPNDT cell, out of which 5,869 are active, which means around 3,119 machines are inactive.
Secretary of Maharashtra state branch of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, Dr Sanjeev Mani, said, “Many centres have shut down due to lack of documents to renew licences and many other reasons. Some have become inactive as they are unable to appoint radiologists. But centres which are run by radiologists have not been affected.”
Dr Asaram Khade, consultant, PCPNDT cell, said that the closure of 3,000 centres across the state is due to strict implementation of the PCPNDT Act.
Inspection squads have been formed under appropriate authorities at various civil hospitals and civic bodies, to monitor if the PCPNDT Act is being violated.
In addition to this, members from the state department are also conducting surprise checks at sonography centres. Till date 4,877 centres have been checked and 41 notices have been issued.
In Nagpur 14 centres have been issued notices while in Navi Mumbai around 13 centres have served notices under rule 20(1) of the PCPNDT Act for failing to maintain records. In Pune and PCMC area around five centres have received notices while in Mumbai four centres got it. In Amravati district, one machine has been sealed.
Varsha Deshpande of Lek Ladki Abhiyan, which is campaigning against the cases of female foeticide, said, “The strict implementation of the PCPNDT Act has restricted the misuse of technology. Considering that one-third of the centres in the state have closed down, it is evident that people with a malicious intent were running them.”
8,988 Number of sonography machines registered with the state PCPNDT cell
5,869 Number of registered machines that are active
350 Number of sonography centres sealed by the government for violating provisions of the PCPNDT Act