The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

Cloud over medical course launch date

Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS) in the capital has been claiming to begin MBBS course from the 2012-13 academic session but all does not seem well with the state of affairs at the upcoming health hub.

Sources at the institute said given the status of work at the institute, the Union health ministry is not “convinced” to give a go-ahead to the launch of the medical course from this academic session.

“While 90 per cent of work such as construction of classrooms, hostels, laboratories and other supporting buildings are ready, crucial resources like furniture and equipment are not yet in place. These things should have been ready if the MBBS course is planned to be started in the next few months. The Union health minister and senior officers are not very keen on giving the go-ahead this year given the pace of work,” a senior JPNAIIMS officer said.

Admitting that the health ministry was taking time to give its nod to the medical college, JPNAIIMS director Dr G.K. Singh said he hoped that the college would start functioning.

“I am not claiming that there would be no glitches if the college is started but they will only be minor ones and that should not deter us from starting the institute. It is true that we don’t have proper laboratory and furniture in place, but we could start classes without them as well. I am hoping that the central ministry will allow us to proceed with the admission process by July 31,” said Dr Singh.

There are, however, many riders. The Centre has still not given appointment letters to 41 medical teachers, many of whom are NRI doctors, who have been chosen for JPNAIIMS along with faculties of other five upcoming AIIMS-like institutes in the country.

“This is because the ministry does not want to start paying the doctors even as the fate of the proposed medical college is uncertain. Besides, AIIMS, New Delhi, had published advertisement for 365 seats — 65 for its own and 50 each for six upcoming AIIMS. Entrance examination was conducted in May. The ministry might change the number of intake of students as the permission to begin the MBBS course at JPNAIIMS is unlikely to be given this year,” a source said.

During his visit to the institute on May 24, Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had pulled up the engineers and other officials and expressed doubts if the facility would be in a position to start its medical college this year.

The decision to set up regional AIIMS, on the lines of the 50-year-old AIIMS in New Delhi, was taken by the Union government to make tertiary medical care available to the common people.

Though the initial plan was to start the construction in 2004, work could begin in 2010 because of a change in the regime in New Delhi. Patna High Court has been monitoring the project and has given a deadline of October 2, 2012, to start the hospital.

The institution proposes to offer 18 super-specialty services, including cardiology, cardio-thoracic and vascular surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, urology, neurology, medical and surgical oncology, paediatric surgery and burns and plastic surgery.

The estimated Rs 850-crore project would have 100-bed intensive care and critical care units, apart from 30 beds each in the physical medicine and rehabilitation centre.