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Dental students cry for posts

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 18: Dental students across the state today staged protests outside the Assembly here, demanding creation of dentist posts in various government-run community health centres and area hospitals.

The students alleged that though the state produced 350 dental students every year, the government had so far recruited only 30 dentists, 17 of whom were contractual employees, in the 30 district headquarters hospitals.

“Dental science is an important field. Dentists are required to carry out major oral surgeries and orthodontic treatment. But, Odisha has very few dentists. The government has never thought it necessary to appoint dental surgeons for divisional hospitals and community health centres,” said general secretary of the Indian Dental Association, Kalinga branch, Sanjeev Pradhan.

Sources said that while there were 100 dental seats each at Hi Tech Medical College and Hospital, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences and Institute of Dental Sciences, affiliated to Siksha O Anusandhan University (all in Bhubaneswar), SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack had 50 seats on offer.

The students also alleged that while most other states had notified appointment of dental surgeons, the state government failed to do the same. “Smaller states such as Goa, Assam and Chhattisgarh are taking steps for their appointment, but the government in Odisha, which produces more number of dentists, is yet to create posts for us,” said Suraj Kumar Behera, a student.

In another development, the house surgeons of three government-run medical colleges and hospitals — MKCG, Berhampur, SCB, Cuttack and VSS, Burla — have urged the state government to increase their monthly stipend from Rs 13,325 to Rs 25,000.

At present, the three institutions have 350 house surgeons. “We have been managing the workload at the medical colleges but getting meagre stipend. Our counterparts in Bengal are getting Rs 24,741,” said general secretary of the SCB Medical College and Hospital House Surgeons’ Association Abhinash Ray. He said they would be forced to launch an agitation if the state government failed to fulfil their demands at the earliest.

Director of the medical education and training Sonamali Bag said he had met the house surgeons and heard out their grievances. “A committee will be constituted to examine their demands and take appropriate steps. The demands of dental students are also under consideration,” he said.