Owners of illegal ultrasound machines now face 3-yr term

Operating an unregistered ultrasonography machine will now result in straight prosecution proceedings,and the punishment will be upto three years’ jail term

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published:January 16, 2012 3:34 am

Operating an unregistered ultrasonography (USG) machine will now result in straight prosecution proceedings,and the punishment will be upto three years’ jail term.

The decision was taken in the biannual meeting of the Central Supervisory Board — set up under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act — held in Mumbai on Saturday.

Till now,such centres could be regularised after charging a fine of Rs 15,000. This,officials say,resulted in flourishing of illegal centres as the provision for regularisation meant the law was skewed in favour of the violator. “The practice of charging a fine and regularising it will not be followed. Instead,the machine will be confiscated and the owner liable for prosecution that could result in a sentence of upto three years,” said a member of the board.

According to another decision taken at the meeting,a centre owner will now inform the government about a change of address 30 days prior to the shift and a fresh registration certificate mentioning the new address will have to be procured. Earlier,this period was 30 days after the shift,which often resulted in the intimation not being given and the centres falling off the radar.

In yet another decision,it was mandated that only two machines can be registered per radiologist,with a condition that the distance between the location of the two machines can be covered within a short time.

The registration information will also have to mention the hours the radiologist will spend in each of the two centres. This is to put an end to the practice of upto 20 machines being registered against one radiologist,who would often charge a fee for lending his name but never actually be a part of the setup.

Representatives of doctors’ associations had reportedly opposed the reforms,resulting in heated arguments. “Finally,all parties agreed to the need for plugging the loopholes,” said Joint Secretary Anuradha Gupta.

The Health Ministry submitted an action taken report on the board’s June 4 decision to ban portable ultrasound machines.

More decisions at PNDT board meet

* Increase in registration fee of new machines from Rs 3,000 to Rs 25,000

* Guidelines for disposal of old machines

* Centre owners to notify change of address 30 days in advance

* Not more than two machines can be registered in the name of one radiologist

* Further training — a 300-hour syllabus and a competence-based certification — for radiologists and sonologists after passing out of institutes recognised by the government

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