ANDHRA PRADESH

Crackdown on city hospitals likely

Dennis Marcus Mathew

Action against violation of PNDT Act

A team of 10 doctors to re-launch raids90 registrations suspended last time

HYDERABAD: After a brief lull, District Health authorities are once again invoking the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act to nab nursing homes and doctors violating the Act.

And this time, they seem to be in no mood to ignore even spelling mistakes in the bulky documentation that is mandatory for complying with the Act. The Act, first wielded in the city by district authorities in September 2004, to prohibit selection of sex of the foetus and passing on information on the same, had been kept aside for the last few months with officials getting busy with other issues. However, with a Central directive on prevention of female foeticide and the District Collector too prodding them, indications are that raids might begin soon.

A team of 10 doctors attached to the District Health and Medical department are gearing up to re-launch raids and inspections across the city. "It is not that we had stopped implementation of the Act. But there were not many serious violations. But now, the Centre and other higher-ups are very particular about PNDT, that we have decided not to spare even spelling mistakes," a Government official preferring anonymity told The Hindu .

State-level team

Once the 10-member team finishes a round, another team from the district administration is expected to continue the crackdown. Once, both these teams submit a report, a State-level team will enter the picture, according to the official.

Scanning machines

The previous edition of the Act's implementation had seen over 370 centres being served notices and more than 100 ultrasound scanning machines being seized. This was when there were only 389 centres that were registered with the authorities. Some 90 registrations were suspended, prosecutions launched against 18 and one doctor even landed behind the bars.

According to officials, 13 of the prosecutions were still on in various city courts. One major positive after the `literal' onslaught, he said, was that the number of centres getting themselves registered shot up to 509. Of the 90 licenses that were suspended, 85 were renewed after the centres fell in line, by paying fines and ensuring that they complied with the stipulations of the Act.