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Axe on 50 SSKM seats

- Bengal’s MBBS berths down by 900 this year

SSKM Hospital has lost 50 of its undergraduate seats, joining the long list of medical colleges which have together forfeited 850 berths because of infrastructural and other lapses.

The Medical Council of India (MCI), the apex body for regulating medical education in the country, has recently informed the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER)-SSKM that it would not be allowed to admit students to 50 of the 150 MBBS seats in the next academic session.

“The MCI has informed us about its decision to not allow us to admit students to 50 seats. We will appeal for a reconsideration,” said Pradip Mitra, the director of IPGMER. The institute, which earlier offered only postgraduate courses, started the MBBS programme in 2012 with 150 seats.

Sources said the MCI decision followed an inspection of the hospital by its assessors, who sources said had raised objections about academic and other infrastructure on campus.

“The inspectors had pointed out that the space between two beds was inadequate.... We are overburdened and have to admit more patients than our capacity,” said Mitra.

The results of this year’s joint entrance examinations will be announced on June 5. According to a Supreme Court order, the first round of counselling for and admission to state-run medical colleges must end by June 25. The last round of admission must end by September 30.

“I was worried over the loss of 850 seats. Now comes the news of another 50 seats being struck off the list. Even if I get a high rank in the JEE, there is no certainty that I’ll be able to pursue medical studies in my state,” said Baguiati resident Sayantan Ghosh, who appeared for this year’s entrance exam.

The MCI had earlier this year slashed the number of MBBS seats at nine medical colleges (see chart) by 850 — from 2,200 to 1,350 — because of their failure to comply with infrastructure and staff norms. Eight of the medical colleges are state-run and hence, the onus of non-compliance is on the health department.

“If the MCI rejects appeals from the colleges to allow admission on the basis of undertakings that infrastructure and staff strength would be improved, as many as 900 students would be denied the opportunity to study MBBS,” said a Swastha Bhavan official.

“We are sure to get clearances for all the seats by August,” said Sushanta Banerjee, the director of medical education.

Bengal doesn’t produce enough doctors to meet its requirements because it repeatedly fails to provide infrastructure to sustain the few MBBS seats it has. The situation is especially alarming at some of the medical colleges where all seats have been abolished.

lapse toll

IPGMER (SSKM)

  • Seats: 150
  • Slashed: 50

Malda Medical College

  • Seats: 100
  • Slashed: 100

Murshidabad Medical College

  • Seats: 100
  • Slashed: 100

Sagar Dutta Medical College

  • Seats: 100
  • Slashed: 100

ESI Medical College

  • Seats: 100
  • Slashed: 100

Burdwan Medical College

  • Seats: 150
  • Slashed: 50

NRS Medical College

  • Seats: 250
  • Slashed: 100

Bankura Sammilani Medical College

  • Seats: 150
  • Slashed: 50

Durgapur IQ City Medical College

  • Seats: 150
  • Slashed: 150

ICARE Institute of Medical Sciences and Research

  • Seats: 100
  • Slashed: 100