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Pharmacy cradle admission nod

The All India Council for Technical Education has granted approval to Government Pharmacy Institute for admission to the 2014-15 session following a visit by the academic watchdog in April.

The Government Pharmacy Institute is the state’s lone pharmacy institute. Speaking to The Telegraph, the principal, Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, said: “It’s good news for the students, as it would help in revival of pharmacy education in Bihar and boost the industry. Along with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approval, we are also expecting Pharmacy Institute of India’s (PCI’s) accreditation by the end of this month.”

A team of PCI, too, had visited the state in February this year.

Although the AICTE has granted approval for admission, it has pointed out several shortcomings during its inspection. The team found the institute lacking in infrastructure. According to Dr Prasad, the team pointed out shortage of books in libraries and talked about upgrade of the laboratory and new equipment.

The institute, with 120 seats for the DPharma and BPharma courses, affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU), does not have its own girls’ hostel. The AICTE team during its inspection expressed surprise over the lack of girls' hostel. The female students either live in private lodges or hostels.

“Long back, we had sent a proposal to the state government for construction of a girls’ hostel but it has not been sanctioned yet,” Dr Prasad said, adding: “A proposal has been sent for construction another boys’ hostel in addition to the existing. That too has been pending. The institute is facing difficulty in accommodating degree students. Some of them have been provided accommodation along with diploma students in the existing hostel.”

Sources, however, said the state government had sanctioned Rs 5.80 crore for the institute's renovation and expansion in 2013. The money had been transferred to the public works department and tenders were floated for construction of a three-storeyed building to house a laboratory and a lecture theatre.

Established in 1958, this is the country’s oldest pharmacy institute conducting DPharma and BPharma courses. Its BPharma course was launched in 2008 at the initiative of former chief minister Nitish Kumar. However, the AICTE had earlier denied approval to the institute in 2009 and 2010 owing to lack of infrastructure.

Thereafter, measures were taken by the state government to meet AICTE standards. In 2012, the institute was attached to the defunct drug-testing lab in Agamkuan. The government also appointed eight professors on contract basis to overcome lack of faculty earlier pointed out by the AICTE.

The institute, earlier affiliated to Magadh University was later affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU) to improve its educational standard.