BALASORE: Even as the State Health Department is busy charting plans to improve the health care scenario, many pathology laboratories in the district are functioning in an illegal manner posing† threat to people. Many such labs are being run by practitioners who lack requisite qualification.As unqualified practitioners rule these labs, the risk runs right from being diagnosed wrongly to not receiving health insurance money.Sources said the coastal district has over 250 illegal pathology labs. Though a few months back, the labs in Soro were shut down following allegations and subsequent action by the health authorities, they have now been re-opened and are running as usual.Balasore city alone has over 30 such labs. Barring four, no other lab has a qualified practitioner who is authorised to carry out tests of blood, urine and stool. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) clearly states that only qualified MD (Pathologist) or Diploma in Clinic Pathology (DCP) holders can be granted authorisation when he/she sets up a lab with updated instruments and qualified staff. Sources said most of the illegal labs here are opened by science graduates who later acquire a Diploma in Medical Lab Technique (DMLT). They are unauthorised to run pathology labs and can only work as helpers. According to Medical Council of India (MCI) rules, the practice of pathology cannot be permitted to a diploma holder.While most of these labs are functioning without any registration or licence from the Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET), one or two though have obtained the registration by invoking the name of an MD in Pathology, but are conducting tests through unqualified persons. An investigation revealed that Sonolab in Permit Field Complex has obtained the registration by mentioning Shaukat Ali Khan, MD (Patho) as the technical person to remain in-charge of lab. But in reality, Prasanta Kumar Prusty, a Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) pass-out, has been conducting the tests.While Prusty claimed to be qualified to do all kinds of tests, proprietor of Sonolab Amitabh Giri said as BAMS degree holder is a physician, he is capable to conduct lab tests. In government hospitals too, technicians without having requisite qualification are conducting such tests, he justified. †Health experts alleged that these illegal labs are sprouting like mushrooms in the city and around the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) under the nose of the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO). Even most of the tests advised by the doctors in the DHH are being done in these illegal labs. Director of Health Services (DHS) Kashinath Nayak said no person other than an MD in Pathology is authorised for lab tests. √Ę¬Ä¬úA BAMS degree holder is not legally and medically permitted to carry out lab tests,√Ę¬Ä¬Ě he clarified, adding that the State Government has ordered a crackdown on all illegal pathology laboratories.