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Illegal Chinese ultrasound kits may be behind MP’s skewed sex ratio

Clinics using portable Chinese ultrasound machines to illegally conduct foetal sex determination tests are suspected to be the reason behind the skewed sex ratio in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district, bordering Uttar Pradesh.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2016 10:24 IST
Shruti Tomar
Chinese ultrasound machines, which are just a little thicker than a laptop and cost between Rs 64000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, are the preferred tool to find out an unborn child’s sex, police said.
Chinese ultrasound machines, which are just a little thicker than a laptop and cost between Rs 64000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, are the preferred tool to find out an unborn child’s sex, police said.(Shutterstock/Representative image)

Clinics using portable Chinese ultrasound machines to illegally conduct foetal sex determination tests are suspected to be the reason behind the skewed sex ratio in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district, bordering Uttar Pradesh.

This district in Chambal-Gwalior region has one of the worst sex ratios in the state — 1,000 men for 839 women against the national average of 1,000: 940.

The arrest of Neeraj Pal and Raju Pal on August 30 confirmed the worst fears of authorities that female foeticide was rampant in the district.

Investigators said the couple was conducting about three to four illegal abortions a week, which accounts for more than 1,400 abortions in eight years since they were in the business.

Their arrest adds to the alarm sounded by National Crime Records Bureau data for 2015, which says Madhya Pradesh has reported the most number of female foeticide at 17.

Chinese ultrasound machines, which are just a little thicker than a laptop and cost between Rs 64000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, are the preferred tool to find out an unborn child’s sex, police said.

The machine’s size makes it inconspicuous and is easy to buy one because of its low cost. It can be carried and operated anywhere.

Other than Gwalior, it was found during investigation that sex determination was carried out in back-alley clinics in neighbouring Etawah and Jalaun districts of UP, bordering the Chambal-Gwalior region, Bhind collector Ilyaya Raja T said.

“In the district, there are only four ultrasound machines and all are under vigilance. The sex determination activities were carrying out in the border districts of Uttar Pradesh.”

Most of “doctors” are without a medical degree. Their modus operandi is to carry the portable ultrasound machines to rural areas, determine an unborn child’s sex, and refer to a clinic if the parents don’t want a girl child. The operation is discreet and the money is good since the law forbids sex determination and female foeticide.

“Anybody can purchase and operate these Chinese machines. It’s almost impossible to keep a tab on their use. But authorities can stop clinics operating illegally where abortions are conducted,” said a doctor who didn’t wish to be named.