Decks are being cleared for the Srinagar Medical College in Pauri district of Garhwal to be handed over to the Indian Army. A team under Major General DS Bhakuni from Army Medical Corps from Central Command will be reaching Srinagar on May 14 for a two-day visit to take stock of the situation, prior to deciding on the takeover.
The decision was taken by the state government almost a fortnight ago. According to sources, the move has come after a severe ‘budget crunch’, severe staff shortages and ever-declining health services at the medical college and because it was not running in adherence to Medical Council of India (MCI) norms. Even while giving permission to open the medical college MCI had given several chances to Srinagar Medical College to fill the vacant academic staff.
The move has been tagged as much-needed because neither does Uttarakhand have enough medical teachers to instruct its MBBS students, nor is there enough budget to hire doctors from other states to fill the shortage.
Meanwhile, if the Army finds the medical college suitable then the state government will address two very important points before it signs the final documents. These two issues would be around providing medical services to not only defence personnel but also locals and, keeping MBBS seats aside for Uttarakhand students in the medical college. According to the latest provision of NEET, 85% of the total MBBS seats of any state medical college are given to natives of that state.
“The project is in its infancy. Army officials will be visiting the college and then discussions will be held on some significant matters, which will benefit both the state and the defence establishment. It is too early to make any comment on this matter,” said Dr Ashutosh Sayana, director, Uttarakhand medical education.