Itanagar: Four central quota medical seats including three sponsored by the North Eastern Council (NEC) of Arunachal Pradesh have been withdrawn after allotment to qualified students.
This eastern most state of India last year had received 28 medical seats including three sponsored by the NEC, according to of official records and confirmed by state’s health services director Dr Moji Jini.
He also requested to retain the number of seats allotted last year if not increased. Any reduction of the seat will jeopardise the careers of candidates who have been selected on merit.
Health services Joint Director Dr R Doye, when contacted, informed that the withdrawal letter came on August 21 last as a bolt from the blue.
Interestingly, the number of central medical seats to Meghalaya has been increased to 42 against 26 last year though the state boasts of North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute Health and Medical Science which offers nine MBBS seats as state quota. Moreover, Mizoram medical quota has been reduced to 17 from 25-27, as reported in Assam Tribune on 22.08.17.
However, Arunachal Govt had moved the NEC secretary Ramnganing Muivah immediately, who in turn has written of union Govt to allow five medical seats.
State Chief Minister Pema Khandu also wrote a letter on August 21 to the drawn attention of Union Health Minister J P Nadda towards the withdrawal of four seats while Meghalaya quota has been increased from 26 to 42 seats. He had sought immediate intervention to allow five additional seats.
State BJP president and central executive member Tapir Gao expressed deep shock, when informed by this editor with documents today. He immediately tried to contact Nadda over the telephone but the minister on tour could not be reached. Gao has a personal term with Nadda, who served as national BJP secretary (2011) when Gao was general secretary. However, he assured to take up the matter with him at the earliest.
Terming seat withdrawal as injustice instead of increasing the number, Education Parliamentary Secretary Pani Taram said that the state Govt, particularly the CM has taken up the matter with the union health minister.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who represents Arunachal West parliamentary constituency, expressed shock and his ignorance when his attention was drawn by this editor. He said that the state Govt has neither informed him about this matter nor drawn his attention. However, he assured to act on receipt of official information.
Arunachal East parliamentary constituency MP Ninong Ering, who was at Bhubaneswar, assured that he would act immediately on return to New Delhi.
Former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki expressed his dismay and said that this is not expected from central Govt. More medical seats should be allotted to match growing population and rising aspiration of the youth, particularly considering that this state has no medical college till now.
State’s PPA president Kahfa Bengia also expressed surprise over the report and said that instead of increasing the number of medical quota reduction is not only injustice but intolerable too. This fast growing state spread in vast geographical area should be given more seats, he added.
Healthcare access eludes tribals: It may be mentioned here that healthcare access eludes tribals of India with a shortfall of 1,266 health centres, 645 doctors in tribal areas across the country.
The government’s apathy towards the tribal population of the country is apparent from its failure to provide health centres and doctors in tribal areas.
Union Minister of State (Tribal Affairs) Jaswantsinh Bhabhor in reply to a question had informed Lok Sabha on 17.07.17 that there is a shortfall of 1,266 PHCs and 645 doctors in existing PHCs in tribal areas of the country during 2016. The country had only 4,012 PHCs then.
Madhya Pradesh reported the highest shortfall of 381 PHCs, followed by Jharkhand (233), Rajasthan (225), Maharashtra (135), Karnataka (107), Bihar (57), Telangana (53), Odisha (23), Jammu & Kashmir (22) and Gujarat (20).
While the shortage of doctors in existing PHCs was reported from Chhattisgarh (246), Odisha (129), Gujarat (70), Assam (50), Jharkhand (43), Karnataka (26), Arunachal Pradesh (21), Madhya Pradesh (20), Himachal Pradesh (13), Uttarakhand (12), Nagaland (6), Bihar (5) and Meghalaya (4). As per Census 2011, the tribals constituted 8% of India’s total population.