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Space-jam squabble chokes SSKM

A day after Students Federation of India (SFI) supporters gheraoed the principal of Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital on charges of ragging on the campus, post-graduate trainees of SSKM Hospital staged a demonstration in front of the surgeon superintendent to protest the decision to push them out of their hostel.

The decision to accommodate fresh students in the hostel by evacuating the present inmates was taken in view of the visit by a Medical Council of India (MCI) team, scheduled for September 8. MCI officials will check out hostel facilities for freshers in case they decide to grant 100 additional seats to the SSKM authorities.

Post-graduate trainees, who thought the 250-room five-storeyed building was getting the much-needed facelift, were in for a shock on Wednesday evening when the hospital authorities asked them to vacate the first two floors of the hostel. They were asked to move out “on a temporary basis” so that “new students” could be accommodated in the hostel.

On Thursday morning, the post-graduate trainees flocked to surgeon superintendent Deb Dwaipayan Chattopadhyay’s office and held a demonstration to protest the decision.

“Let the under-graduate college be blown up, we will not budge an inch. We don’t know how you will convince the MCI to grant extra seats, but we will not leave our rooms,” a section of the students shouted.

The hospital authorities tried to pacify them by saying it was a “temporary arrangement” and that they could move into the new hostel, which the government was keen to build. “We are supposed to start the new hostel project soon,” confirmed Chattopadhyay later in the day.

With the post-graduate trainees in no mood to relent, it was left to medical education director C.R. Maity to rush to SSKM Hospital in a futile bid to mollify the agitating students.

The government will hold another round of talks with the post-graduate trainees on Friday to try and arrive at a solution.

Apart from the anatomy and physiology departments at the adjacent University Council of Medicine, which drew MCI censure for “inadequate” infrastructure, the hospital’s poor hostel facilities were also criticised by the team during its last visit.

The state government, in a last-ditch effort to get the clearance from the MCI, had embarked upon a mission over the past few days to renovate the hostel building.

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