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MBBS knock on Delhi door

- Council restores 400 seats; fate of 645 uncertain

The Bengal government has requested the Union health ministry to allow admission to the MBBS seats the Medical Council of India has scrapped.

“We have written to the health ministry, stating that the fate of hundreds of medical aspirants has become uncertain,” a state health department official said on Monday. “We requested them to tell us what needs to be done to get the freeze lifted.”

The council, which regulates the country’s medical education, had over the past few months abolished 1,045 MBBS seats in 12 colleges across the state because of infrastructural lapses and lack of enough teachers and other employees.

On Saturday, the council lifted the freeze on 400 seats, 250 of which are in two private medical colleges. Which means 645 medical seats in state-run colleges are still off the list.

Sources said the council had rejected the pleas of several medical colleges to restore seats. The colleges in their appeals told the council that they had already abided by some of its norms and would implement the rest shortly.

The appeals of a few colleges are yet to be taken up.

“The medical colleges have failed to convince the council that they would be able to upgrade their infrastructure and recruit adequate teachers and other staff before the new session starts,” a council official said over the phone from Delhi. “We have requested the Centre to ask the college authorities to submit satisfactory compliance reports.”

Of the 400 seats the council has restored, 250 are in ICARE Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Haldia and IQ City Medical College in Durgapur (both private institutions). The remaining 150 are in the state-run Burdwan Medical College and Hospital (50) and Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital (100). Burdwan Medical College had lost 100 seats (see chart).

The seats that are still off the list include 100 at NRS Medical College, 95 at Calcutta Medical College and 50 each at SSKM and RG Kar Medical College.

“We have heard that several seats at North Bengal Medical College and Kalyani Medical College have been scrapped. But there is no communication yet from the council,” said Sushanta Banerjee, the director of medical education in the state.

The council scrapped 1,045 seats after its inspectors reported that the colleges lacked adequate faculty and resident medical officers; enough paramedics in haematology, serology, histopathology and cytology, physiology and community medicine departments; sufficient laboratory equipment and proper space in the outpatient departments.

“We lost 100 seats after an inspection by the council last April. During a second visit last Wednesday we were told that the bar had been lifted,” said an official of ICARE Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.