Steel City of India (Jamshedpur) now has only 887 girls against 1000 boys which is much below the state and the national child sex ratios, according to the Jharkhand health department’s annual survey report.
The survey, which was conducted after a gap of four years, shows a drop of 33 counts in the number of girls from 920 in 2011. The officials said it was due to mushroom growth of ultrasound centres and nursing homes in the district, pro-male child mindset and ignorance about the laws against pre-natal diagnostics. Pre-natal diagnostics and abortion of female foetus are a major reason for the poor sex ratio.
East Singhbhum district advisory committee member of Pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques Act (PC&PNDT) Purbi Paul suggested a Maharastra model to check illegal abortions in Jamshedpur. She said the Maharashtra government had developed a tracking system to check the child sex ratio.
Ultrasound centres and nursing homes have been linked with the district health departments. Officials there get information the moment an ultrasound of a pregnant woman is done at a particular centre. She highlighted the need for frequent checks of nursing homes in the Steel City too.
Educationist Tanushree Patry said pro-male child mindset, fears of dowry in case of a girl is born and related crimes were the primary reasons behind the poor child sex ration in Jamshedpur. Patry said there was need to involve educated families to remove the social stigma attached to girls.
However, East Singhbhum civil surgeion SK Jha said that all lawful steps were being taken to stop the female feticide. He said legal action was taken recently against two health centres in Jamshedpur for illegal abortions. The department has directed nursing homes to submit monthly information about ultrasound cases at their centres. Meetings will be conducted with owners of health centres this month to motivate them to help run the centres as per the PC&PNDT Act, he said, adding that special workshops for parents were also being conducted in this connection.
“A public awareness Rath (vehicle) moves in Jamshedpur to motivate them for improving child sex ration”, Jha said.
Sources said the situation was no different in Dhanbad and Bokaro district too.
According to the census, there were 965 girls against 1000 boys in 2001 and 943 in 2011 in the state, whereas, the national average was 927 girls in 2001 which dropped to 914 in the 2011.