The results of Census 2011 came as a jolt to health authorities,with damning reports of an increasingly skewed child sex ratio in the country. Pune,too,did not fare well with the child sex ratio declining by 29 points as against 902 girls per 1,000 boys in the 2001 census. As health officials scurried to launch websites and campaigns to arrest the decline,keeping them on their toes were members of the civil society and NGOs whose participation in the effort to save the girl child has started yielding results.
In the last six to eight months,16 cases have been filed against doctors flouting the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act,says Milind Salunkhe,advocate with the Pune Municipal Corporations PC-PNDT Cell.
Dr Vinayak More,Pune district civil surgeon said seven cases are in the court for non-maintenance of records and recently Dr Mohan Nagane a radiologist from Aundh General Hospital was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment for illegal sex determination.
Till December 2010,there were 84 cases filed against doctors found flouting PC-PNDT Act. These are pending in various courts in the state and as per the Bombay High Court directives,they must be resolved by the year-end. Several are expected to come up for hearing this week,says Gupta. This year,the tally of the cases under the Act has increased to 153. Since the implementation of the Act,294 cases have been filed.
Fifteen ultrasound machines have been sealed and notices issued to over 300 doctors for not submitting their monthly reports. Of 541 centres in the city,410 are operational at present. We have to ensure that doctors display the notice that they wont conduct sex determination tests,apart from checking the medical records and machines being used, said Jadhav.
Keeping up the pressure on health officials were NGOs and civil society members. Advocate Varsha Deshpande,in charge of the Lekh Laadki Abhiyaan,said,This year,we conducted 36 sting operations and the impact can be seen in districts like Satara,Sangli and Kolhapur.
Dr Meenakshi Gajbhiye,president,Indian Radiological and Imaging Association,Pune branch,said workshops are being held to increase awareness and students are being urged to take an oath that they will not indulge in sex selection.