It has been almost a month since Beed district has been in the news for cases related to sex determination tests and female foeticide. According to data available on the website www.globalhealthfacts.org, the number of hospitals in Beed city alone is far more than the Indian standard.
There are nine hospital beds per 10,000 people in the country, but with an average of 64 beds per 10,000 people, Beed’s statistics are on par with European countries. Activists, however, claim that the actual number of hospital beds is four times the officially registered figure.
According to official figures, Beed has 119 registered hospitals with 1,593 beds for a population of 2.5 lakh people. Social activists Manisha Tokle and Ashok Tangde say that Beed has grown into a medical hub for all the wrong reasons. “As Beed is closer to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, people from these states and western Maharashtra flock here for carrying out illegal activities like sex determination tests, among others. Moreover, absence of proper laws makes things easier for doctors,” Tokale, secretary of Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, said.
The activists also alleged that the doctors in the region charge anywhere from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 for sex determination tests and female foeticide. “As a result of strong support from political parties, these doctors perform such prohibited activities without any fear or shame. Every year, new applications for hospitals and maternity homes are being filed in Beed. But there is no increase in population, which clearly indicates that people from other areas are coming here, making it the most sought after site for doctors,” said Varsha Deshpande, founder of NGO Lek Ladki Abhiyaan.
Another doctor arrested
On Saturday night, the Beed police arrested Dr Madhav Sanap, owner of Bhagwan Hospital, under relevant sections of the IPC from Aurangabad. He was produced in court yesterday morning and was remanded in police custody till July 16. Dr Sanap’s licence was cancelled and his hospital was sealed after he was caught red-handed carrying out a sex determination test during a sting operation conducted in 2005 by Varsha Deshpande. He was caught operating under the name of Dr Shashikant Dahifale. Meanwhile, Dr Shrihari Lahane and Dr Shivaji Sanap will be produced in the court today.