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Lone lab takes 3 yrs to examine viscera 

Chandigarh: A huge backlog of viscera samples has pushed the waiting period for its analysis at the state’s only chemical laboratory to three years.

As per the record of the State Chemical Testing Laboratory, Kharar, around 5,000 samples of viscera lying in the store are yet to be touched. These samples are part of various court cases across the state. The samples received in early 2015, are yet to be opened. Due to a delay, the decision in court cases for which these reports may prove vital evidence are also being delayed.

One of the main reasons behind the delay is shortage of staff in the laboratory. As per sanctioned staff strength, the laboratory has eight chemical analysts against 14 posts.

The issue has remained a cause of concern among state’s forensic experts as well. Dr DS Bhullar, president, Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology (PAFMAT), the state body of forensic medicine specialist doctors, said there was urgent need to improve medico legal services in the state in the interest of speedy and clean justice for the people of Punjab.

He said the chemical laboratory in Kharar was overburdened and should be split into three regional laboratories to be located at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot. “This will help speed up viscera examination in poisoning cases and reduce pendency in public interest with assistance from forensic medicine departments in state-run medical colleges. A resolution in this regard was passed in the first executive body meeting of PAFMAT held on Saturday,” he said.

Dr Rakesh Gupta, chief chemical examiner and incharge of the laboratory, confirmed the development and said the matter was a cause of concern even at the highest level in the government. He said early this month, a meeting between Additional Chief Secretary Home, Principal Secretary, Health, and Director, Health Services, took place in which the issue was discussed at length. He said keeping in view the workload, the laboratory was understaffed and short of space.

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