Country should have Human Organ Bank on lines of Eye Bank

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) A forceful suggestion was made in the Lok Sabha that India should create Human Organ Bank, Kidney Bank on the lines of Eye Bank, to stop illegal trade in human organ transplantation.

The suggestion came from former union minister and BJP member Maneka Gandhi while expressing concern over the recent expose of a kidney racket operating in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Describing the racket as 'tip of an iceberg', she said there was need to regulate the donation of organs, including kidneys, to protect people being fleeced by touts and uncanny doctors. If a Bank for Human Organ is created on the lines of Eye Bank, it will be possible for people to legally donate their organs.

Ms Maneka said the United States and several European countries have human organ Banks. ''Our peeople go to Singapore for organ transplantation. If we can provide this facility in the country they need not to go abroad,'' she said.

Replying to the supplementary, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said he had nothing to say as the question pertained to the Health Ministry. The setting up of such a bank would require amendment to the existing law and only the Health Ministry could comment on it.

Mr Patil said an expert committee set up by the government to go into the whole gamut of human trade in the country had submitted its report and was presently under consideration of the Health Ministry.

To a question by Mr Thawarchand Gehlot, BJP, he said 14 persons have so far been arrested for their alleged involvement in illegal organ transplants, including kidney transplants, in cases registered by Haryana police and Uttar Pradesh Police.

The names are Dr Amit Kumar, Dr Upendra (close associate of Dr Kumar), Dr Saraj Kovind (Anaesthetist), Dr Jeevan Kumar (brother of Dr Kumar), Dr K K Agarwal (Anaesthetist), Gyasuddin and Jagdish Nai (both middlemen for supply of kidneys), Manoj (OT assistant), Mrs Pooja (wife of Dr Jeevan Kumar), Umesh (Driver of Dr Jeevan Kumar), Ms Linda (nurse in RML Hospital, Delhi), Harpal (Driver of Dr Upender), Ramesh and Suresh (both Cooks of Dr Amit Kumar).

He said in view of the gravity of the alleged criminal offences, the case had been entrusted to the CBI for investigation as it was found that the racket has links abroad. He also conceded that the accused have their bank accounts and property abroad and assured that suitable action would be taken under the law.

The provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, contain stringent punishment for the offences of removal of human organs without authority and for commercial dealings in human organs.

Earlier several members expressed anguish that the trade in human organs was continuing because of inadequate punishment given to the offenders of the 1994 legislation. They called for making the law more stringent.

UNI KAS Mir KP1321

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