Non-payment of Salaries, Electricity Bill: Maharashtra Medical College moving towards shutdown
The matter which raised eyebrows; is that the medical college charges the highest for MBBS course; still it is not able to pay the stipends of the staff, resident doctors, PG students and doctors as well as the electricity bill
Mumbai: Due to the apparent financial crisis at the Pune-based Smt Kashibai Navale Medical College, over 900 medical students attached to the medical college; are heading towards a setback on the education front.
The history of the monetary issues at one of the most sought after private medical colleges in Maharashtra goes a few years back; when nearly 50 per cent of the surgery department and most of the junior staff members resigned from the medical college, citing “non-payment” of salaries.
The delay in payment allegedly had started in 2017 when salaries were paid 2-3 months late. Later, on June 18, 2018 when the delay in payments extended to almost seven months, the teachers decided to go on a strike and refused to conduct lectures, according to a report by The Indian Express
After this issue witnessed a little bit of a resolution, on December 18 last year, the power of the hospital, attached to the medical college; was cut by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). This drastic step was taken against the establishment in the face of an unpaid bill of a whopping Rs 1.66 crore, Mirror reported in December 2018.
With the power of the hospital being cut, the medical college experienced a major shutdown resulting in no lectures and a rejection of patients coming for treatment. The medical college administration did manage a few days with generators but there was no scope of clinical practice for medical students.
While professors stopped teaching and doctors stopped treatment, the students’ council moved the state government, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, MUHS (to which the medical college is affiliated with), and other government bodies complaining against the college management. The council informed the authorities about the non-payment of stipends to medical college staff and failure of the medical college and hospital management which is drastically affecting the medical students’ academic prospects.
“Our students’ education is affected for no reason. The college is among the most sought-after... We hope the government intervenes,” the student’s council stated.
At present, the medical college administration is blamed for non-payment of stipends of doctors, staff and PG medicos; as well as affecting the studies of medical students due to the power cut which also took place because the medical college ignored the notices of the electricity company.
The matter which raised eyebrows of many of the affected parties is that the medical college charges the highest for imparting education for MBBS course at its institute; still it has been unable to pay the stipends of the staff, resident doctors, PG students and doctors. Under-Graduate students at the college pay annual fees of Rs 12 lakh, excluding for hostel and exams, and Post-Graduate students Rs 14 lakh annually.
When contacted, Dr Shalini Sardesai, Dean of the medical college told Mirror last week, “While the management is in the process of solving the financial problems, due to the electricity cut, we have had to shut down the hospital, to be on the safer side. Also, since the teachers have not been paid, teaching is also affected. Management has assured that the problem will be solved soon.”
TOI reports that while PG students have not been paid stipend for months, salaries of teachers are pending since September 2018. “Teachers are somehow conducting lectures and practicals using generators but our clinical training is largely affected as the hospital has shut down. We have not practised for almost a month,” said a student. Resident doctors on campus, too, have not received any practical training. First-year students have their term-end exams scheduled towards the end of this month.
During a recent meeting with the state’s Medical Education authorities and medical college trust member, the medical students and parents were asked to wait till January 16 for clarity on the issue.
DMER Director Dr Pravin Shingare informed TOI that a hearing is scheduled on January 16. The state government will intervene in the matter post the hearing.