Now, ‘on-call’ portable ultrasound machines wouldn’t be permitted any longer in the state. In a letter issued to all districts, municipal corporations by the state health department, usage of all portable ultrasound machines should be discontinued.

      “The central government amended the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and subsequent gazette notification was made in February. However, we got a copy of it only 10 days ago and have written to all concerned officials in various districts to take necessary steps to implement the amendment,’’ said Dr Asaram Khade, assistant director, family welfare.

      The issue of portable machines has been a contentious issue between public health officials, NGOs working in PCPNDT implementation and radiologists who are opposing the ban. While, the latter argue that the ban is not sensible, as it will act against those patients who are bedridden or need sonography in emergency, the officials argued over difficulty to maintain control over portable sonography units since they are movable and they play a big role in dipping child sex ratios and sex selective ultrasound tests.

      The amended act not only bans portable machines but also restricts radiologist to practice at not more than two centres. At present, there is no restriction on number of places that a radiologist is registered.

      Khade said that until now, portable sonography machines were carried by doctors from one place to another and there would be little monitoring.

      “The machines would now have to be stationed at a registered centre. Also, those who have got registrations as portable or mobile ultrasound units would have their registrations automatically cancelled. But they can re-apply for registration at a particular centre for same machine,’’ said Khade.

      An internal report of directorate of state health services in 2011, showed that Maharashtra had around 2,382 portable ultrasound machines. Of that, highest number of portable ultrasound machines were in Mumbai circle (1,618) while Pune circle had 41 such kits.

      However, members of radiologists’ association say the decision banning portable sonography units is