Glare on rogue steel city ultrasound clinics

Are ultrasound clinics responsible for fewer girls being born in cities?

An administrative decision to monitor ultrasound clinics from 2013 was taken on Thursday at a district-level workshop on declining child sex ratio in the city and East Singhbhum as a whole.

The meet, organised by Shramajivi Mahila Samiti and Plan India, deliberated on the alarming sex ratio in the industrial belt.

According to the latest census, Jamshedpur's sex ratio for children between 0 and six years is 887 girls for every 1,000 boys. The trend reflects a disturbing plunge from 920 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001 census.

In fact, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Bokaro are among the worst in terms of child sex ratio in Jharkhand. Jamshedpur and Dhanbad are twins in shame with 887 girls per 1,000 boys. Bokaro fares worse with 881 girls.

East Singhbhum district health department, in a bid to tighten up its act, will now go for raids of 106 ultrasound clinics in the city to ensure that parents don't try to find out the sex of their unborn child and abort the female foetus.

"With more literacy rates in urban areas, the child sex ratio has seen a declining trend for girls. We suspect educated people go for ultrasound test to know the sex of the foetus though the law bans it. We will now keep track of ultrasound clinics," said district civil surgeon Jagat Bhushan Prasad.

For the record, Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (1994) bans sex determination. It is popularly known as the PCPNDT Act.

In December, district advisory and district inspection and monitoring committees of the Act will be strengthened.

Newly appointed district level PCPNDT Act nodal officer, Abhijeet Panda said from 2013 it would be compulsory for all ultrasound clinics to submit test details by the fifth of every month. If a clinic doesn't, it will invite random raids. If a violation of the PCPNDT Act is found, the clinic's registration can be scrapped.

This apart, posters will be put up to encourage people to lodge complaints with the offices of the civil surgeon or additional chief medical office if they come to know about ultrasound clinics conducting sex determination tests.