The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medical seat relief

The fate of 200 students selected for two proposed medical courses in two hospitals of the state will be decided within 10 days.

Calcutta High Court on Friday asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to reconsider the plea of the West Bengal government regarding the opening of two medical courses — one at SSKM Hospital in Calcutta and the other at a Midnapore hospital — within a week and to make a fresh recommendation to the Union government.

The court also directed the central government to give its permission in this regard within three days of receiving the MCI recommendation.

Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharjee, on Friday, also allowed the state government to extend the time limit for admission to the courses from September 30 to November 30.

On the basis of the order, the state government announced dates for counselling. Candidates who have qualified for the million-rupee seats, as well as those from the Scheduled Castes panel of the Joint Entrance Examination, must be present at the general lecture hall of the Medical College and Hospital on November 16 at 10 am.

“Counselling does not mean we are assuring admission. There can be no admission unless the government issues a letter of admission. We are just taking the process a step further,” director of health services C.R. Maity said at Writers’ Buildings.

The court order followed a petition by the state government alleging that the MCI had illegally disallowed it from launching the medical courses. Appearing for the state, advocate-general Balai Ray told the court the council was citing “illogical reasons” to thwart the move.

“According to the council, the government, before launching the course, should ensure hostel accommodation for the students. In SSKM Hospital, we can accommodate 62 students of the 100 in the course. Then, there are many students who do not want to stay in a hostel,” Ray said.

Another point of contention was the number of patients in SSKM. As per norm, the patient: student ratio should be 8:1. The MCI’s contention is that SSKM is overcrowded with patients. The advocate-general said all infrastructure was in place, students had been selected and the government was awaiting only the necessary approval.

Ajit Panja, on behalf of the students selected for the course, supported the government and told the court the MCI decision was “step-motherly” towards the state. The government had fixed September 30 as the last date for admission to the course. The court, in view of Friday’s order, allowed an extension up to November 30, if necessary.

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