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Must-do for medical colleges

The Union health ministry has asked medical colleges in Bengal to complete a list of tasks to bolster facilities and manpower before the next academic session if they want to avoid losing MBBS seats.

The Medical Council of India (MCI), which had cut around 1,100 MBBS seats this year in medical colleges across the state, would conduct an audit every three months to check the progress of work undertaken to fix the gaps.

“We’ll seek an action-taken report every three months from these medical colleges to keep tabs on the progress of work for improving infrastructure. If any of the colleges fail to meet the criteria by the end of this academic year, the MCI will take strong action,” Jayshreeben Mehta, the president of the MCI told Metro.

“Strong action” means permission to admit MBBS students would be revoked again.

“You and your institution are fully responsible to fulfil and maintain norms, including infrastructure, both physical and human resource, teaching faculty and clinical material, etc. throughout the academic year as stipulated in the MCI regulation,” states a letter from the ministry to the colleges.

The health ministry had on July 12 allowed admission to 700 seats following the MCI axe on nearly 1,100 MBBS seats. The MCI had restored 400 seats before the ministry stepped in. Bengal has 2,450 MBBS seats at present.

The ministry had asked the college authorities to overcome within three months their shortcomings — inadequate infrastructure and staff shortage — that prompted the MCI to slash seats.

“In case false or wrong declaration or fabricated documents have been used for procuring permission of the Central government and the said misconduct is brought to the notice or comes to the knowledge of the Central government or MCI at any stage during the current academic year, your institution is not liable to be considered for renewal of permission for the next year and this renewal of permission is also liable to be revoked for current academic year,” the letter warns.

An official of the ministry said the colleges had done little to improve infrastructure despite promising twice to follow the MCI norms. “This is their last chance… the colleges wouldn’t be granted more time next year.” he said.

NRS Medical College and Hospital, SSKM Hospital, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Malda Medical College and Hospital, ESIC Medical College, Joka, Bankura Sammilani Medical College, College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital and College of Medicine & JNM Hospital, Kalyani, were among the state-run institutes where seats have been scrapped.

State health department officials said the colleges wouldn’t have much to show when MCI inspectors come for their quarterly inspection. “Construction at Malda and Sagore Dutta won’t be complete before March next year. More than 50 per cent of the project is pending because the contract of the private firm hired for the civil work at both colleges had been scrapped and the new contractor has yet to start work,” said a senior official.

“Construction of the outpatient department and new wards at Sagore Dutta is likely to be completed by March 2015. Other projects, hopefully, will be over by November this year.”

Pre-fabricated structures would be used to cut down time and cost at other colleges.

The government has started recruiting teachers but manpower crunch still remain a thorn. “The recruitment board has been activated only recently. It would take time to fill vacant positions,” said an official.

The authorities promised to surmount the hurdles. “Construction is in progress and we are recruiting teachers. All deficiencies will be removed by the end of this academic year,” said Sushanta Banerjee, the director of medical education.