Give MPF funds to states for post mortem houses: CBI

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(representative pix)

With lack of facilities for post mortem affecting quality of autopsies, the CBI has asked the Centre to fund states for modernisation and technical upgradation of such facilities under the Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) scheme.

However, the Ministry feels that the recommendation could not be implemented now as the guidelines approved by the Union Cabinet earlier, it is not part of the approved component of MPF scheme.

The agency’s recommendation was passed on to the Home Ministry on March 5, a senior official said.

The CBI suggested that modernisation and technical upgradation of post mortem houses in states should be made a part of the scheme after consulting Union Health Ministry, the official said.

The suggestion came against the backdrop of investigators facing trouble in courts as it takes exception to the poor quality of autopsy reports. The lack of facilities has negatively impacted the quality of autopsy reports.

According to the ‘Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS): Guidelines for District Hospitals’ prepared by Union Health Ministry, post-mortem rooms should have stainless steel autopsy table with sink, a sink with running water for specimen washing and cleaning and cup-board for keeping instruments.

“Proper illumination and air conditioning shall be provided in the post mortem room. A separate room for body storage shall be provided with at least two deep freezers for preserving the body. There shall be a waiting area for relatives and a space for religious rites,” it said.

However, the official said, most of the hospitals do not have facility to ensure seamless power supply to such facilities or properly functioning high-capacity refrigerators and even basic equipment like proper knives.

“It is not just about funds. Even if they have funds, hospital administration does not give priority to modernisation of mortuaries and post mortem rooms,” he said. Most of the mortuaries and post mortem rooms are dirty.

Though the CBI is looking at a scenario where the Centre can be of help, the components of MPF scheme, the funds can be earmarked for procuring vehicles for operational purposes, weapons, communication equipment, training aids, infrastructure development and construction of hi-tech forensic laboratories and police training institutions.

The Home Ministry has specifically told states that it cannot use MPF funds to buy computers, fax, UPS, generator, printers, pen drives, memory cards, mobile phones, still and video cameras and solar panels among other things.

For a period between 2000-01 and 2014-15, the Centre has released Rs 15,090 crore to states under the MPF scheme.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 31, 2015)

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