Private clinics under scanner for PNDT tests in Himachal


SHIMLA: To improve child sex ratio in Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has stressed on the need to keep private clinics bordering the hill state under scanner to ensure no pre-natal diagnostic techniques (PNDT) are used to test the gender of the foetus.


Virbhadra said the child sex ratio, which was 972 girls per 1,000 boys, needed improvement though it was far better than the national average of 943 girls per 1,000 boys. He said private clinics bordering the state need to be under scanner for conducting PNDT tests.
Health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said to improve child sex ratio, the state government had started a pilot project in three districts – Una, Kangra and Hamirpur – initially to keep a check on pre-natal diagnostic techniques as exercised by few private clinics.
He said recently a doctor was fined and imprisoned for a year after he was found to be involved in illegal tests under PNDT Act.
Dwindling girl-child sex ratio in some parts of the state, especially in the areas bordering neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand, has left the government worried.
To keep an eye on the private clinics involved in illegal sex determination tests, already state health authorities have come out with the idea of conducting sting operations for which a decision has been taken to engage private detective agencies.
Besides, a decision has also been taken to install active tracking devices in the ultrasound machines in state. Under the pilot project, tracking device would be installed at the centres in Hamirpur, Kangra and Una and later entire state would be covered under the scheme in a phased manner.
As per 2011 census, child sex ratio (0-6 years) of the state is 909 which is unsatisfactory. Galore area of Hamirpur has the lowest child sex ratio of 845 followed by Ladbharol in Mandi 850, Tiara of Kangra 875, Gangath of Kangra 877 and Baldwara of Mandi 879. In the state, around 265 ultrasound clinics are registered of which 86 are in government sector and 179 in private sector.