Shimla: Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand and Himachal are to come together to enforce the PNDT Act and form a task force for co-ordinating monitoring of clinics and ultrasound centres which are in a clandestine manner conducting sex determination tests, Rajiv Bindal, health minister stated on Thursday.
Responding to a question by Thakur Roop Singh (BJP) during question hour in the Vidhan Sabha, the health minister said that the task force would help to book medical practitioners indulging in illegal practices and help contain female foeticide that was leading to skewed sex ratio.
He said that it had been found that while the female sex ratio was improving in the state, it was rising to the desired levels in Kangra, Una and Solan districts. In these district that share large borders with neighbouring states pregnant women and their families were taking advantage to getting tests and abortions done there, which has made it essential to have an inter-state task force.
The minister said that in 2008 only one case of female foeticide was reported in the state and that too could not be ascertained. Another complaint of female foeticide was sent to the union health minister directly, which was referred to the state government and enquiries were conducted in Kullu and Mandi
districts but proved inconclusive and could not be verified despite the probe.
He, however, admitted that in all but one districts of the state, number of female children in the 0-6 years age group was less than the number of boys, though there had been an improvement in the sex ratio in this age group.
This does not appear to be natural and that enforcing the PC & PNDT Act would be made more stringent in the state to prevent female foeticide.
Responding to a supplementary question by Nikhil Razour (Cong), Bindal said that the government was determined to stop the practice and had decided to appoint 1172 female panchayat workers in the rural areas of the state, whose main work would be to record and monitor pregnancies in the villages till deliveries took place so as to ensure that no female foeticide was resorted to.
Replying to a question by G S Bali (Cong), the health minister said that a hospital management information system was being set up in the state, which would cover Indira Gandhi Medical College, Tanda Medical College and 20 other hospitals, after which the records of all the patients as also the hospital administration and other paraphernalia would be available online.
The funds for setting up the system had been made available to the department and this would also ensure transparency in the working of the hospitals, he added.
In a written reply to a question by Kaul Singh (Cong), public works minister Guklab Singh said that till 15 January 2009 work on as many as 191 roads was stopped because of the Forest Conservation Act and the department was in regular communication with the union minister of environment and forests for obtaining clearance so that the job of road construction could be completed.