MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Poll poser on Modi government's 'hurry' over opening of cancer research centre in Varanasi

The education ministry has granted approval to the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai, to start an off-campus centre at Varanasi. The centre will consist of the existing Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre (MPMMMCC) and the proposed Homi Bhabha Cancer Centre

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 27.05.24, 06:59 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Union government has allowed a public-funded deemed university to open an off-campus centre dedicated to cancer research in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will vote on June 1.

The education ministry has granted approval to the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai, to start an off-campus centre at Varanasi. The centre will consist of the existing Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Centre (MPMMMCC) and the proposed Homi Bhabha Cancer Centre.

ADVERTISEMENT

A notification in this regard was issued by the education ministry on May 20.

According to academic Nandita Naraian, there was no need to issue such an order amid the Lok Sabha elections.

“There was no urgency to issue the order in the middle of the elections. They should have ideally waited till the elections are over,” Narain, a former president of the Delhi University Teachers Association, said.

Dr Om Shankar, a cardiologist at the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), questioned the need for a proposed cancer centre in Varanasi that already has three cancer centres, including the MPMMMCC, the largest cancer institute in northeastern India.

Under the University Grants Commission Act, the education ministry has the power to grant deemed university status to an institution or allow a deemed university to open campus based on UGC recommendation.

According to the notification, the HBNI had sent the proposal for the off-campus centre to the UGC, which formed a committee to examine it. The committee gave the go-ahead with the condition that the HBNI sign a land lease agreement with the BHU and the Indian Railways. The HBNI has
fulfilled the condition.

The HBNI has 11 campuses across the country.

An official at the HBNI said the education ministry had taken the Election Commission’s approval for notifying the off-campus centre.

“The ECI has given approval. There is no question of the violation of the model code of conduct or election protocol,” the official said.

Fast unto death

On May 11, Dr Shankar launched a fast unto death to protest the denial of beds to the IMS cardiology department.

The IMS got a new super-specialty block in 2022. During the construction of the block, it was decided to allocate around 90 beds on the fourth floor and half of the space on the fifth floor to the cardiology department. However, the decision was not honoured.

The cardiology department is operating from the old building with 48 beds.

“Our department caters to the needs of six crore people in eastern Uttar Pradesh and adjoining areas. Our beds have been given to the cancer department of IMS. There are three cancer centres in Varanasi, including MPMMMCC,” Dr Shankar said.

He said the proposed Homi Bhabha Cancer Centre is not required as there are enough facilities for cancer care.

“We need at least 800 beds in the cardiology department. We are managing with 48 beds. Nobody is listening to our demand,” he said.

The institute on Friday issued an order to remove Dr Shankar from the post of the head of the department, saying he was unavailable for the job.

“I am fasting in my chamber. Earlier, I was available for eight hours a day. For the last two weeks, I am available 24 hours a day,” he said.

The institute has set up a committee to study the issue of bed allotment, which, Dr Shankar said, had been settled by the previous committee.

He also alleged large-scale corruption in the appointment of advisers in the institute.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT