Hostels have turned out to be the great divider among students at Patna Medical College.
While the lucky 930 enjoy hostel facilities on campus, the rest 220 have not only to shell out more to find accommodation outside but also manage traffic to reach the college and adjacent hospital on time.
The conditions have not changed in the past few years even as the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms stipulate a medical college has to provide accommodation to its students on the college campus.
Living on the college campus is necessary for the MBBS and postgraduate (PG) students as they have to provide services to the hospital and if they live outside the campus, they would find it difficult to manage their time.
“There are 600 PG and 550 undergraduate (UG) students in the college of which 220 students are forced to stay at private hostels. Students who live at the private lodgings have to shell out around Rs 4,000 per month as hostel fees — at least 11 times more than a student living at the college hostel. Inmates at the college hostels have to pay only Rs 3,600 annually,” said Rakesh Kumar, president, Junior Doctors Association, Bihar, and one of the PG students.
According to sources, the situation would not have been this bad if the under-construction 300-bed hostel had been handed over to the college. The sources said the construction of this 300-bed hostel started in 2007 and still some works are pending in this building, including setting up of transformer and changing the faulty pipeline. Students said the college administration is hardly concerned about their problem.
Arjun Singh, acting principal, Patna Medical College denied the allegations. He, however, admitted that 220 students were facing problems because of hostel facilities. “Only the state government can improve the condition. The building construction department has to hand over the 300-bed building. What can we do in this? We only have the power to allot rooms to students once the building is complete but the construction part has to be looked after by the department concerned and they have to speed up construction work, if any. The college administration is also feeling helpless,” said Singh.
Bimal Karak, deputy superintendent, Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), said they also could not do anything in this mater and the college administration was responsible for providing accommodation to students and not the hospital administration.
Even after several attempts, The Telegraph could not contact Chanchal Kumar, secretary, building construction department.
Vijay Kumar, who stays in a private hostel, said: “We already have to spend a lot of money on different things and the hefty hostel charge also add to our woes. If the college provides me accommodation in its hostel, I would only have to pay Rs 3,600 annually against Rs 48,000 per year which I am paying now.”
One of the students who stays in a college hostel said: “The living conditions in the hostels are far from up-to-the-mark. Sometimes, we feel that we have been crammed like animals in the sprawling campus of our college, which claims to be the best in the state in medical education.”