Dehradun: An Indian Army take over of Srinagar Medical College,Pauri Garwal is in the offing due to a severe budget crunch, staff shortage, poor health services and flouting of MCI norms at the Medical college. The decision would become final only after Major General DS Bhakuni, of the Army Medical Corps, Central Command visits the hospital for a two day inspection from May 14 onwards, to access take over suitability.
The Council, it is believed, had given several opportunities to the college authorities since the time of its opening to overcome faculty shortages. The take-over move is being termed a ‘much needed’ one, as the state does not have sufficient medical teachers to instruct its MBBS students, nor does it have the financial resource to get them from other states.
If the army decides to take over the college, the state will have two important issues to decide upon with it before handing over the reins of management. The first – that the college will continue to provide health services to the public, as before, besides serving the defence personnel. Second , that the college will reserve a certain no of seats for uttarakhand students, as the the latest NEET provisions call for 85% domicile reservation.
“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.
Started in 2008, Srinagar Medical College has a seat strength of a 100 and has since commencement strived against staff shortages. The present paucity being 30%, with many a staff shifted to Dehradun Medical College and Hospital.
It is believed, that the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval along with government officials and other army officers from Pauri have played a key role in this take over attempt.
However, local voices of dissent are now being heard. Local politicians are already urging the state government to make attempts of up gradation of facilities on its own, as this option stands to benefit the locals more than an army take over.
“We will have to surrender ourselves to the autocracy of the Army just the way it happens in Chakrata. We don’t want even an inch of our institutions to be given to the Army. The state government should manage its medical colleges on its own,” said a resident of Srinagar, who is a dissenting voice.
“The government had offered either the under-construction Almora Medical College or Srinagar to the Army, which chose the latter for strategic reasons and the existing Army infrastructure in nearby areas like Lansdowne,” said Sayana to the TOI.