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SCB regains medical seats

- MCI sets terms for increase

Bhubaneswar, July 11: The number of MBBS seats in SCB Medical College has been restored to 250 by the Medical Council of India (MCI), which had last month reduced it to 150, citing non-conformation of norms by the authorities.

Secretary of the health and family welfare P.K. Mohapatra said: “Following our commitment that we will follow the guidelines of the MCI, they have again increased the number of seats to 250. We got a letter to this effect this evening.”

The MCI has enhanced the number of MBBS seats in the college to 250 in 2013 on the condition that the college authorities would meet the conditions set by them within a year. But last month, the number was reduced to 150 as the authorities had failed to meet the criteria. Among the conditions that the medical college of the state failed to meet was the required number of journals and the size of the library.

The norms require that a medical college should have 100 journals, but SCB has failed to manage more than 86. Besides, its central library has a total area of 1,500 square metres against the required 4,000 square metres. The state government, however, had recently informed the MCI that work was on to expand the capacity of the library.

“They have raised 17 points, and we have complied with 14 of them. But some times, we have found that the government institutions, particularly those with an all-India reputation, do not find favour with the MCI as compared to private medical institutions,” said a senior officer in the state health department.

The state government was working overtime to comply with the conditions, including expansion of the examination hall-cum-auditorium from 1,200 square metres to 2,000 square metres.

Mohapatra said: “The deficiencies pointed out by the MCI pertain to infrastructural and equipment needs, but there is no adverse remark on the faculty position. The required equipment are in the process of being procured and installed.”

Mohapatra had written a letter to the joint secretary of the Union health ministry to consider the state government’s request to renew permission for the intake of 250 students in the college.

The SCB principal has given an undertaking to remove the deficiencies, pointed out by the MCI, before September 30.

The issue also found an echo in the Assembly today with members cutting across party lines expressing their concern over the limited number of MBBS seats available in the state colleges.

“The state as such is facing a shortage of doctors. If more medical graduates are produced, it will solve the problem,” they said.

The members wanted to know the status and the reason of delay in compliance with the MCI guidelines. Sharing the House’s concern, health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak assured them that the government was taking steps on a war footing to meet the MCI conditions. “Though infrastructure development involves a huge expenditure, we are taking it up in the right earnest. But it takes time, because we have to go through some procedures such as issuing of tenders,” he said.

The state is also worried about the fate of Sardar Rajas Medical College in Kalahandi. The MCI is yet to accord approval for 100 medical seats for this college.

The government said that once some of the proposed medical colleges came up, the number of seats would go up to nearly 3,000 by the end of 2017-18.

Nearly 19 medical colleges are coming up in public and private sectors. Of these, five will be government sector colleges, a development taking place after 55 years when the VSS Medical College was set up. The new government medical colleges will be set up in Puri, Balasore, Mayurbhnaj, Balangir and Koraput. The state has also approached the Centre to sanction 270 more postgraduate seats in the government medical colleges. Their number now is 354.


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