Bhubaneswar, March 17: The state government has decided to increase the number of MBBS seats in the state’s three medical colleges. However, more than 30 professor posts are lying vacant at the institutions.
The state government recently decided in principle to raise the number of MBBS seats in its three medical colleges (SCB at Cuttack, MKCG at Berhampur and VSS at Burla) from 150 to 250 each. Official sources said the proposal had received provisional approval of the Union health ministry. A detailed proposal would be sent to the ministry shortly.
Sources said 35 of 131 sanctioned professor posts were lying vacant in the three colleges till recently. In another development, the departmental promotion committee has decided to fill up 26 professor posts by way of promotion.
Similarly, 67 of 252 associate professor posts and 183 of 503 assistant professor posts were lying vacant. Even, four top-level administrative posts such as principal and superintendent were lying vacant in the three medical colleges. These vacancies were filled up on February 29 by way of promotion.
Health minister Prasanna Acharya admitted that there were huge vacancies in the three medical colleges. “However, we have initiated expeditious steps to fill up these vacancies,” he said.
“The process for promotion of associate professors to the rank of professors has already begun. We have also requested the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) to recruit 191 assistant professors to be posted in the three medical colleges,” said Acharya.
A senior official in the health department attributed the vacancies to non-availability of eligible candidates for being promoted to professor and associate professor posts.
According to the norms, an associate professor is required to have a minimum four years teaching experience to be eligible for promotion to professor post. Similarly, the minimum required experience for promotion to associate professor from assistant professor post is five years. “The process for promotion to the posts of professor and associate professor has started. The vacancies are expected to be filled up within a month,” said a senior official.
Seven associate professors were recently promoted to professor posts and 30 assistant professors were elevated to associate professor rank. They were transferred to other medical colleges. However, these transfers have triggered apprehensions of further aggravating the vacancy position and affecting teaching activities and healthcare service.
Usually, those posted at SCB are reluctant to go to the other two colleges (MKCG and VSS). They go on long leave to avoid transfer.
However, dean and superintendent of SCB D.N. Maharana said: “All of the transferred professors and associate professors have been relieved to join at their new place of posting.”
“On the other hand, professors and associate professors were transferred from MKCG and VSS on February 29 to join here against vacancies. Almost all of them have since joined duty here,” said Maharana.