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Bar on admission in homeopathy colleges

- Apex body cites lack of faculty and infrastructure, asks four institutes to wait for nod
Biju Patnaik Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur. Picture by Gopal Krishna Reddy

Bhubaneswar, July 12: The Central Council of Homeopathy, the apex body regulating homeopathy colleges across the country, has asked four government-run colleges of the state not to admit students before receiving its clearance.

Council secretary Lalit Verma had communicated this directive to the colleges in March. Sources said the council was not happy with the inadequate faculty strength and the state of infrastructure at these institutions.

“We are waiting for the council’s clearance for this academic year. We are taking steps to comply with its guidelines in terms of faculty and other infrastructure requirements,” said health secretary P.K. Mohapatra. The faculty shortage has been going on for the past four or five years, but this is the first time the council has asked to stop admission.

In 2011, the apex body had directed the state government to fill up the vacancies in two years or it would stop admission. However in January, when the team visited, the situation had hardly changed.

The four government homeopathy colleges awaiting the clearance are Abhin Chandra Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Bhubaneswar, Utkalmani Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Rourkela, Biju Pattnaik Homeopathic Medical College in Berhampur and Odisha Medical College of Homeopathy and Research in Sambalpur.

These colleges offer four-and-a-half-year bachelor in homeopathic medicine and surgery programme with internship for one more year. Each of their student intake capacity is 25 per year, and the four institutes produce 100 homeopathic doctors every year. Students are selected though the OJEE conducted by the state.

While the guidelines make it mandatory for each college to have at least one regular professor and one regular reader in each department, the above colleges are running with only a handful of faculty members.

Abhin Chandra Homeopathic Medical College, which has 12 departments and should ideally have at least 24 professors and 24 readers, is running without a single professor. The 45-year-old institution, which is run by the department of health and family welfare, runs with 11 regular and 15 part-time faculty members.

Principal Surya Mishra said: “The council has not actually asked us to stop admission. It has said we cannot admit students without the council’s permission this year. However, we have sought permission, and hopefully it will be granted.”

Similarly, admissions at Biju Patnaik Homeopathic Medical College have also been held up due to lack of infrastructure. During 2010-2011, no admissions took place following a council order.

Principal in charge of the college Nibedita Das said six departments, including anatomy, pharmacy, pathology, SPM and repertory, were now functioning without a single lecturer. “All the eight departments are functioning with one lecturer each. The college has sanctioned posts for six professors, 14 readers and 15 lecturers,” she said.

The situation is similar at Utkalmani Homeopathic Medical College and Odisha Medical College of Homeopathy and Research. Principal in charge of the Sambalpur college Radha Rani Mishra said: “While the sanctioned strength of faculty is 24, we have 12 members and of them, only six are regular.”

Mohapatra said the state government had requested the Odisha Public Service Commission to recruit the required number of faculty members in these colleges. “If necessary, we will deploy homeopathy doctors with requisite academic qualifications,” he said.

Additional reporting by Sunil Patnaik in Berhampur and Subrat Mohanty in Sambalpur