This Article is From Nov 15, 2014

Chhattisgarh Sterilisation Deaths: Officials Admit Possibility of Presence of Pesticide in Medicines Given to Women

Families mourn the deaths of women in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur on Tuesday. (PTI photo)

Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh: Five days after botched sterilisation surgeries in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, claimed lives of 13 women, the administration has officially admitted a strong possibility of the presence of zinc phosphide in the Ciprocin 500 tablets allegedly manufactured by Mahawar Pharmaceuticals, a drug company and given to the women in the camps.

"Prima facie, it seems there is a strong chance that Ciprocin 500 tablets manufactured by Mahawar Pharmaceuticals may contain zinc phosphide. As during last night raid at their factory, it was found in the production area. We will be able to officially confirm this in 2-3 days as soon as the report comes from central drug lab. We have banned all medicines manufactured by Mahawar Pharmaceuticals," said Sonmani Bora, Bilaspur Division Commissioner, told NDTV.

Zinc phosphide is an inorganic compound that is used in pesticide products. The signs of its toxicity are indicated by the symptoms shown in the human body. If ingested, it may cause headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and cough. In severe cases, it may even cause convulsions, coma and death.

Most of the above symptoms have been seen in the 122 women admitted in hospital and 13 others who lost their lives after being operated upon in Saturday's Pendari camp and Monday's Gorela Pendra medical camps.

On Thursday, Mahawar Pharmaceuticals' director Ramesh and son Sumit were arrested by police under section 420 for cheating, based on a complaint filed by Food and Drug Administration authorities.

 "I am innocent. The police has not shown us any arrest warrant," said Ramesh Mahwar.

The state government, after a cabinet meeting, has also dismissed senior surgeon Dr RK Gupta, who conducted the surgeries at the Pendari medical camp as well as Chief Medical Health Officer Dr RK Bhange.

"I am being made a scape goat. I am not responsible for what happened at the camps," said Mr Bhange.

The state government has also constituted a judicial probe team which will submit its report in three months.

The NDTV team visited over a dozen women who underwent sterilisation surgeries at these medical camps.

"On Saturday, I was operated upon and I fell sick after taking the medicine. I started vomiting and was rushed to doctor," said Savita Khande, a daily wager and a mother of three, who is now out of danger.