Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhawanipatna, Dec 23:
Relay hunger strike by the students of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital at Jaring in Odisha’s Kalahandi district entered second day today.
The students have been demanding better infrastructure and filling of vacant faculty positions in the college.
While the district traders’ association and other organisations of the district have lent their support to the agitation by the students, the students said they will continue with their relay hunger strike till their demands are fulfilled.
Moreover, the Medical College Kriyanusthan Committee of the district has threatened to take to the street demanding government college status for the medical college.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had approved 100 seats for the medical college for 2013-14 academic session with the condition that it would meet infrastructure and staff requirement.
Accordingly, medical college went ahead with the admission to the seats.
As infrastructure has not been upgraded and staff strength not increased there is all likelihood of the MCI withdrawing its conditional approval for the 100 MBBS seats that which it had allowed for 2013-14 academic session leaving students in the lurch.
However, this year, the MCI barred admission to the medical college as infrastructure was not upgraded and staff strength was not increased.
“The college has no infrastructure. There are no faculty members to teach. We have told about our grievances to the district collector and the local MLA but nothing has happened. We will continue with our agitation till our demands are met with”, said a student who is on relay hunger strike.
“Our college doesn’t have faculty members how we are going to learn? The infrastructure is manageable but without faculty members who is going to teach us? We have met the collector and local MLA and told them about our problems. Since nothing has happened we are forced to take to the agitation path. Even the CDMO had visited our college we had told him about our problems but nothing has happened”, said a girl student of the college.
“The college has failed to meet the guidelines of the MCI and the deadline for meeting the conditions ends on December 31. The fate of these students hangs in balance”, said a local.
On April 1, 2004, a MoU was signed between Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust and the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) to set up the medical college and hospital on PPP mode.
After prolonged public agitation, the construction work of the medical college was started.
For the Rs 100-crore project, it was agreed that WODC would contribute Rs 10 crore in eight instalments on the basis of progress of the work and the state government would provide 25 acres of land on lease.
The Selvam Trust constructed a building for the medical college and hospital, hostels for students and other structures. However, the project ran into problems.
Though the hospital has 300 beds, it lacks adequate medical staff in most of the departments and infrastructure facilities. The MCI representatives visited the site twice in 2011 and once in 2012. The medical college failed to get MCI approval as it lacked infrastructure and staff.
The Trust had earlier declared that admission would begin for 2008 academic year. Even then, members of MCI had expressed their reservation over the number of doctors and other facilities in the hospital.
Protesting the sorry state of affairs in the college, locals have staged demonstration several times in the past.