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Seat refusal sets off hospital space hunt

A day after the Medical Council of India refused to grant the state 200 additional medical seats, due to “lack of infrastructure”, the University College of Medicine (UCM) campus, adjacent to SSKM Hospital, witnessed a frenetic demolition job. The aim was to pull down walls and create more space before the next inspection by the council, scheduled for September 8.

Though the SSKM Hospital authorities remained tight-lipped on Monday, some senior officials were summoned to Writers’ Buildings for a dressing down on the “failure to convince the council team”.

Later in the day, director of medical education C.R. Maity and health secretary Asim Barman dropped by at the hospital to supervise the repair work, led by a new annexe that is to become a students’ hostel. It is learnt that the government’s main cause for concern is the space jam in the anatomy and physiology wing at the UCM, both stumbling blocks during previous council visits.

“The cramped space in both departments, perhaps, did not escape the attention of the council team. We have, therefore, decided to carry out further work on the two important departments to give them better shape,” said a senior UCM official.

In another development, the Joint Entrance Examination (medical) Guardians Forum filed a petition in the high court on Monday, demanding suspension of this session’s classes until the 70 vacant seats are filled up, “within seven days”, by the government.

Of the 905 medical seats, only 835 have been filled up. On August 31, parents and aggrieved students who could not gain admission to this year’s medical courses, will gather at the Medical College and Hospital for a convention. “We will launch a large-scale agitation if the government does not withdraw its pay-and-study-scheme immediately,” said convener Nirmal Khatik.

C.R. Maity, meanwhile, admitted at Writers’ that the results of the exams under the pay-and-study scheme have been deferred as the government was still hopeful of receiving the medical council nod for additional seats.

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