| The main building of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences. Picture by Ashit Rai
Gangtok, May 8: Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences has been finally recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The certificate and documents with the official confirmation is likely to reach Sikkim within this week.
K. Jayakumar, the vice-chancellor of Sikkim Manipal University, to which the medical college is affiliated, said over phone from Bangalore today: “I will most probably come back to Sikkim with the certificate of recognition. For that, I must first visit Delhi. But this much I can say, it is through and done with.”
Students at the medical college, however, were cautious. While most of them refused to speak, the few who interacted said they want to first see the certificate for themselves or at least hear an announcement from the authorities.
It is said the MCI approved the recognition after its team finally expressed satisfaction with the the academic and clinical performance of the medical college and the central referral hospital attached to it. On its last tour of the institute in April, the MCI team had given the institute 83 per cent marks for having the necessary infrastructure to shoulder more than 80 per cent of clinical load.
The non-affiliation to the MCI had rendered courses at the institute useless and had in turn led to several flare-ups between students and the university authorities in the past two years.
Finally in January 2007, the Centre agreed to recognise the first two batches. This of course did not go down well with all the students. Earlier, the Sikkim government had tried to provide some temporary relief to the would-be doctors by announcing that they could register themselves with the Sikkim Medical Council. But that would have meant that the medical graduates from the institute could practice in Sikkim only.
This time, the MCI team noted that the strength of the faculty was in keeping with the council’s requirements. According to council norms, faculty shortage should not be more than five per cent, that is, at least 95 per cent of the teaching posts should be filled.
“The primary obstacle to getting affiliation pertained to faculty at the institute. But this time, we tried to address the issue and the faculty of the institute was present in full strength for inspection along with doctors of Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital. Unlike earlier occasions, this time the doctors of the second hospital have been recognised as faculty of the institute. Earlier they were not acknowledged despite teaching at the institute,” Jayakumar had told The Telegraph soon after the final inspection.
Last year, in July, Jayakumar had met the MCI authorities and officials of the Union health ministry in New Delhi over the affiliation issue. While requesting permanent affiliation, the vice-chancellor had also pressed for a provisional affiliation to be granted to the institute immediately. The MCI was reported to have responded positively to the request at that time.