Scan centres skew sex ratio in Warangal

One year after the damning sex ratio data for 0-6 age group children in Warangal came out in census-2011, the district health administration is yet come out with any action plan to restrict the declining trend by checking illegal activities of ultrasound centres.

The shocking 0-6 age group sex ratio is lying in government files without proper remedial measures even though the district now boasts 174 registered ultrasound centres spread over five revenue divisions of Warangal (102), Mahbubabad (24), Mulug (21), Jangaon (17) and Narsampet (10).

Because of improper monitoring over the functioning of ultrasound centres by health officials, the census-2011 data placed Warangal district with the dubious distinction of having the worst sex ratio for 0-6 age sex children.

According to census-2011, Warangal 0-6 sex ratio stands at 912 girls/1,000 boys as against the state’s healthy ratio of 942/1,000 and national ratio of 914/1,000.

Kadapa follows Warangal’s first rank with 918/1,000 and Nalgonda with 921/1,000.

The 2011 census of 912 girls/1,000 boys is a 43-point dip from 2001 census’ 955 girls/1,000 boys in 0-6 age sex ratio in Warangal.

What, is, however, shocking is that in 12 of 51 mandals in Warangal, the 0-6 age group sex ratio is below 900 girls/1,000 boys.

Parvathagiri (828), Chennaraopet (857) and Hanamkonda (859) lead the mandals with the worst 0-6 age sex ratio.

The rest are Nallabelli (873), Atmakur (878), Dornakal (878), Mahbubabad (881), Thorur (888), Maripeda (892), Devaruppala (893), Bhupalpally (894) and Kuravi (896).

Hanmakonda’s presence in the list is attributed to the presence of large number of ultrasound centres at Kakaji Colony, which charge between Rs.500-Rs.800 for illegal determination of the sex of the child in violation of Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act (PNDT), 1994.

Sources said that easy accessibility to ultrasound centres and cultural changes in tribal hamlets with introduction of dowry system (half of the mandals with worst sex ratio are predominantly tribal dominated), has increased the demand for male children.

It is significant to note that 12 ultra-sound machines were seized by the high-level central team from national inspection monitoring committee, an apex body of ministry of health and family welfare, during their raids in four centres in Warangal on March 15 to check violation of the PNDT Act.

There is now lobbying by the private ultra sound scanning centres to get the seized ultrasound machines back.

When contacted, the district medical and health officer, Mr P. Sambasiva Rao, said that they were taking steps to improve sex-ratio in these mandals.