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By BY SUVRO ROY in Calcutta
  • Published 9.02.00
Calcutta, Feb. 9 :     The state-run Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial (SSKM) Hospital, Calcutta's premier post-graduate medical institution, will have an MBBS course from the next academic session. It will start with 50 students. A.K. Maity, director of the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research at SSKM Hospital and head of the hospital's cardiology department, is likely to be the first principal. The authorities are ready to take in 50 students in August for the coming session, provided the Medical Council of India approves infrastructure and teaching facilities. "We have informed the council that we are ready. Now we are waiting for them to come and inspect the hospital," said health minister Partha De. A team of council officials is to visit SSKM Hospital next month. The government's decision follows a council directive that postgraduate institutions must have under-graduate courses as well. Like the four other medical colleges in the city - Calcutta Medical College, Nilratan Sarkar, RG Kar and National - the MBBS course at SSKM will be under Calcutta University. "We want to increase the number of seats in our medical colleges," said De. Sources in the health department said 50 seats have been added at North Bengal Medical College. Seats are also being increased at Bankura Medical College. The government has also created additional teaching posts for the MBBS course at SSKM Hospital. An advertisement to recruit teachers will appear in the newspapers soon, De said. Initially, however, the course at SSKM will begin without a hostel and students from the districts may have to squeeze themselves in with fellow-students of other medical colleges in their hostels. "We have plans to build our own hostel. Let us see how soon we can build it," the health minister said. The SSKM authorities feel that there would be no problem in starting under-graduate courses because the 43-year-old post-graduate centre at the hospital already has the requisite infrastructure. Gopal Ganguly of SSKM said that students for the MBBS course would be selected from candidates who had cleared the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). "It is the JEE authorities who will finally decide on the students who will study at SSKM," he added. "We have a good infrastructure for outpost-graduate institute. We only need to extend it a little for the MBBS course," said Ganguly. The health minister said the new course would cost the government Rs 25 crore a year. "Without the institute infrastructure, the initial expense would have crossed Rs 200 crore," he said.