Patna, Sept. 24: The first batch of 50 students of Patna AIIMS would attend classes from Tuesday in an old irrigation department building, around 2km from the structure housing the college in Phulwarisharif, for security reasons and lack of infrastructure.
Hundreds of workers engaged in building the Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS) hospital enter the campus each day though the construction of the college is over, triggering questions about security. Also, toilets are not ready for use at the college building even after four years of construction at breakneck speed at a cost of Rs 950 crore on the institution, projected to change the face of healthcare in the region.
Against this backdrop, the makeshift classrooms would be housed at a building meant to be the residential quarters of the Patna AIIMS faculty members.
Officials at the institution said the inaugural ceremony of the MBBS course would be held on Tuesday at the medical college building at the AIIMS site. But classes would be held at the residential complex.
“The medical college is ready but we are not confident of starting the classes there. It is a 100-acre campus and hundreds of construction workers are working on the hospital building. There is also a village nearby. The fittings and toilets in the college building are not yet ready. The hostels, too, cannot be used right away,” Patna AIIMS director G.K. Singh told The Telegraph on Monday.
He added: “Till the time the infrastructure is in place, we cannot leave 50 students at the main site because there are no proper security arrangements. The teachers, too, would be living 2km away. We have decided to keep the entire JPNAIIMS family on the same premises in the first year.”
Singh said the decision to start the medical college at the irrigation department building — that stands in the middle of the 34-acre plot acquired for constructing residential flats for employees and teachers — was given a fresh coat of paint and cleaned for academic purposes.
The director said there was no need to inform the Centre about the decision because the Patna AIIMS was an autonomous institution.
The 50 new students would be residing in quarters meant for Class III and IV employees of JPNAIIMS because the Union health ministry decided to outsource the services of the employees after the flats were built.
Even as the “makeshift” medical college is getting ready to open doors to 50 new students, the laboratories are empty and the library has insufficient books. Of the 24 teachers selected to teach anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and community and family medicine, only 19 have joined.
Besides the teachers who have joined the institute in the rank of professor, associate professor and assistant professor, four senior resident doctors have also been taken on board.
Authorities at the institution believe that these are “birth pangs” and the creases would be ironed out with time.
“No institute crops up overnight. It grows over a period of time. There are some initial hiccups but the rough edges will soon be smoothened. Labs will be fully functional within the next three months and we will get a full-fledged library soon. Students will get the best possible medical education here,” said Dr Pragya Kumar, a senior faculty member at the institution.
The budding doctors have mixed feelings when it comes to their first step in the medical world.
“I always wanted to study medicine in AIIMS. When I managed to get a seat here, it was like a dream come true. Being the first batch, we would have teething problems because the infrastructure and resources are not ready yet. However, at the end of the day, it is the quality of education that matters,” said 18-year-old Ayushi Wiz who hails from Lucknow.
Ananya Hait, a student from Calcutta, was a bit disappointed about the present condition of Patna AIIMS but expressed hope that the situation would improve.
“The medical college is grand and the hostels are nice. It is true that we fill face minor problems for a few months but things will change for the better soon,” she said.
The medical college at JPNAIIMS is slated to have 100 seats but the Centre allowed it to start with 50 students for the current academic session because of lack of proper infrastructure and faculty.
The students in the first batch — 13 girls and 37 boys — are mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Bihar and southern states. They were selected through an all India-level pre-medical test conducted by AIIMS, Delhi, in May.