The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Health varsity in slow motion

Calcutta, Oct. 14: Two months are past since the official gazette notified it for implementation but the much-hyped West Bengal University of Health Sciences, proposed to oversee all medical colleges in the state, shows no signs of taking off.

A committee framed to rope in a suitable person for the post of chancellor, preferably from another state, appears to have drawn a blank.

Even a building to house the proposed university has not been finalised. A few buildings have been inspected at Salt Lake. A special committee comprising health department officials that would oversee the activities of the university from Calcutta has not been formed.

Handpicked officials were supposed to finalise the syllabus for the new university to bring uniformity in study patterns in the medical colleges, but that too has not happened.

The Bill was passed in the Assembly last December.

Officials at Writers’ Buildings were tight-lipped on the status of the proposed university. “Nothing has happened, no one has a clue on where it is heading. Perhaps the director of medical education can shed some light,” a senior official said.

Director of medical education C.R. Maity echoed him. “This is an arduous task, co-ordinating everything within a time frame we had set for ourselves. I admit we have not made much headway. We still require time to concretise everything,” said Maity, refusing to elaborate further.

Maity has asked all his officials to refrain from making statements related to the university. “What is the use in speaking now'” he said, refusing to comment on the status of the “search committee” and their possible choices for chancellor.

According to the government’s plans, various forms of medicine — allopathy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, nursing, pharmacy, dental and physiotherapy — would come under the purview of the new university.

Days after the government made public its intentions of creating a health university, political parties, the Indian Medical Association and teachers at all the medical colleges protested.

“There are clauses in the Bill that are very controversial, including the one that says employees from medical colleges could be drafted into the university according to the government’s whims or they might lose jobs. This is unacceptable. We think the government should have taken all concerned into confidence before announcing its plans,” said IMA president Subir Ganguly.

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