On the same page? RIMS in Ranchi where health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh laid the library foundation before flying to Delhi for medical seat talks on Sunday
Bargaining with the Centre to retain medical college seats by upgrading infrastructure according to MCI recommendations, health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh laid the foundation of a multi-facility library and trauma centre on RIMS campus in Ranchi before flying to Delhi for talks on Sunday.
Earlier this month, the Union ministry of health and family welfare gave the dreaded nod to slash medical seats from all three state medical colleges — 60 from RIMS and 50 each from PMCH and MGM in Dhanbad and Jamshedpur — on the grounds that their infrastructure and manpower were inadequate.
The library at RIMS, on the medical council’s priority prescription, was hurriedly adjusted to the Rs 207-crore state government budget with a 50-bed trauma centre as part of the Sunday’s programme. Earlier on July 4, it was decided at the RIMS governing body meeting that health minister Singh would only lay the foundation stone of a helipad and an AC canteen on campus.
“I have instructed my departmental authorities that construction work of the library should begin within two months at any cost. When the MCI team comes for inspection next year, it should find students at the new library with digital infrastructure and latest medical journals,” the health minister told The Telegraph.
On the existing despair among students and the state as a whole over the seat-slash issue, Singh said: “The issue is bigger than party differences. We held a meeting yesterday (on Saturday) in which chief minister Hemant Sorenji (of the JMM), Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Choudharyji (of the BJP) and I (of the Congress) took part. Choudharyji is going with me today (Sunday) to New Delhi for talks on this.”
Accompanying the minister and Ranchi MP was the RIMS dean S.N. Choudhary. They flew to New Delhi in the evening. But even Singh couldn’t say when they would be able to meet Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
Significantly, the seats at RIMS were increased from 90 to 150 in 2011 and the ones at both PMCH and MGM were doubled from 50 to 100 in 2013.
But, the MCI, after inspecting the facilities, decided that the existing infrastructure and manpower at the three medical colleges could not possibly support such a large number of students. It warned the colleges about this in May but the state dawdled. In July, the MCI recommended to the Centre to slash the seats back to their original numbers. In August, the Centre agreed.
Now, the state is fighting hard to be allowed to keep the increased seats to salvage hundreds of medical careers.
At RIMS, the new library will benefit students while the trauma centre would cut down the load of the emergency.
“These apart, RIMS blood bank, operating and lecture theatres will be renovated,” added a senior official.
Around 9am on Sunday, around 10 students who had cleared the CBSE’s prestigious All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) to qualify for the MBBS course but were denied admission following the seat-slash directive, met health minister Singh at his Ratu Road residence.
On whether the continuing initiatives to save the MBBS seats would bear fruit, the state health minister asked students “not to lose hope”.
“I have told the children that I would put in my best efforts before the Union ministry of health and family welfare to get the green light to retain the MBBS seats at RIMS, MGM and PMCH,” minister Singh said.
Will this upgrade help win back MCI confidence?