Telangana medical colleges won’t get extra seats even this year

By: B V Shiva Shankar

HYDERABAD: Telangana medical colleges have come a cropper for the second year in a row. Not only has the Medical Council of India (MCI) turned down their plea for additional seats for the academic year beginning August this year, the very continuance of the colleges is being threatened due to what the national medical body called ‘inadequate and shameful lack of infrastructure and other facilities.’ And despite the intervention of the AP High Court, it was for the second consecutive year that the Telangana medical colleges have lost out on additional seats . Meanwhile, the state government and the colleges are passing the buck on each other for the fiasco.

The MCI inspection teams have been visiting the medical colleges since the last week, and it was the turn of the PG courses of Osmania and Kakatiya medical colleges on Wednesday. The inspections are being carried out under the supervision of MCI secretary Dr R P Meena. While Osmania Medical College (OMC) is seeking an enhancement of the number of MBBS seats from the current 200 to 250, Gandhi Medical College (GMC) and Kakatiya Medical College (KMC) each want to increase the intake from 150 to 200 seats. MCI mandates that there should be an infrastructure upgrade for the plea of these colleges for additional seats are to be granted.

Shockingly, the condition in the Telangana medical colleges have not improved despite the high court issuing a directive to the state government to improve infrastructure and teaching staff availability to comply with the MCI standards. The court had issued the directive after hearing a writ petition filed by Osmania and Kakatiya Medical Colleges which questioned the MCI’s refusal to grant the additional seats last year.

The MCI inspection teams have expressed dismay over the abysmal infrastructural condition and shortage of staff.

While the inspection for granting additional post-graduation (PG) seats is still going on, an MCI official said there was no chance of the colleges getting additional seats either for MBBS or for PG courses this year.

“After inspecting these colleges, forget about granting additional seats, one cannot approve even their continuance. How can we expect any quality doctors to emerge out of these colleges?,” said an MCI official.

Admitting to the shortcomings in the colleges, Dr Saytadev, principal of Kakatiya Medical College, said the state government must address the issue on an urgent basis.

“We (KMC) are nowhere qualifying for the additional seats. For instance, we have a library in 1100 sq m area, whereas the MCI requirement is 3400 sq m. There is no head of the department (HOD) for the anatomy department and we are running it with just two assistant professors,” said Satydev.

Badly maintained toilets, malfunctioning lift, crumbling staircases and walls with cracks were what greeted the MCI teams. While hundreds of crores are required for giving a face-lift to these colleges, the state government’s seriousness in addressing the issue is reflected by the fact that all it did was announce a grant of a measely Rs 60 crore last year, but that too was not finally released.

And instead of attempting to improving the infrastructure and teaching facilities, the state government is banking on the MCI to be lenient on the colleges on the grounds that they are government institutions.

“We are very well aware of the shortcomings. But, the MCI must be considerate as they are dealing with government colleges where poor students come to study. They should not apply the same criteria applied to private colleges where huge investments are made,” said Dr Vishnu Prasad, director of medical education.

Last year, the row had turned into a regional war with Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam, Siddhartha Medical College in Vijayawada and Kurnool Medical College in Kurnool getting 50 additional seats each, even as the pleas of OMC, GMC and KMC in the Telangana region got rejected.

The pro-Telangana political parties had made some noise then and did so again this time around. “The state government has hardly shown any sincerity in rectifying the shortcomings in the medical colleges. It clearly shows the discrimination meted out to Telangana, and the students of the region feel let down,” B Vinod Kumar, TRS politburo member who was among the petitioners who had moved the high court against the MCI’s refusal to grants the additional seats, told TOI.

But the fact remains that the Telangana medical colleges have lost out on the additional seats for this year as well.

[Times of India]

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