GUWAHATI, July 15 � The Medical Council of India (MCI) has given recognition to the new medical college in Jorhat and 100 students will be admitted in the college in the current session. This was disclosed by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the State Assembly on Wednesday.
The minister informed the House that the MCI sent teams thrice to the college for on the spot inspection before formally giving recognition to the college on Tuesday. He also disclosed that the MCI has accepted the proposal to increase 35 seats in Silchar Medical College.
Sarma said that no new medical college was established in Assam in the last 40 years and the Government is going ahead with a well chalked out plan to increase the number of medical colleges. He said that the Barpeta Medical College to be named after former President of India Fakruddin Ali Ahmed would start functioning from December this year.
The Minister further informed the House that a new medical college in Tezpur is scheduled to be ready by next year, while, the Chief Minister would lay the foundation stone of another medical college in Diphu in September this year. He said that the Government also started the process of setting up a medical college in Nagaon.
Several members of the House expressed concern over the shortage of faculty members in the medical colleges of the State, but Sarma claimed that shortage of faculty in the medical colleges is an all India phenomenon. He said that the MCI was satisfied with the faculty position in Silchar Medical College and that is why permission has been accorded to increase seats in the college. He said that efforts are being made to maintain the minimum requirement of staff in the medical colleges and �we did not go for opening the colleges in Jorhat and Barpeta at the same time because we are aware of the fact that there would be shortage of staff." However, he expressed the hope that the problem of shortage of faculty members would ease out in the years to come after the new medical colleges start functioning.
Later addressing a press conference after the day's session of the Assembly was over, the Minister said that of the 100 seats, 15 per cent will be reserved under Central Government quota and hence 85 of the seats will be available with the State Government, said Minister Sarma.
Classes in the Jorhat Medical College are being started in September next and a new MRI machine will be provided to the college on the date of commencement of its classes on September 1 next. The present faculty strength of the college at present is 140, against the requirement of 72.
Implementation of the Diphu and Nagaon Medical Colleges are also being started before October next. Already the land and fund allotment for the purpose have been done, said the Minister.
Meanwhile, the MCI has been requested by the Assam Government to grant permission for starting evening shift classes in the State's medical colleges with a view to doubling the intake capacities of these colleges.
The Government of Assam has plans to set up 126 model hospitals with each having at least 14 doctors on the roll. This will create a need of around 2,000 doctors and an equal number of paramedical staff. The requirement of doctors in the State is hence growing.
But since 1960, after the establishment of the Silchar Medical College, no medical college was set up in the State. This resulted in the dearth of doctors in the rural areas of the State. As per thumb rule, one medical college should come up in a State every ten years.
According to the Indian Public Health Standard, Assam is in need of at least 7,000 doctors at present to meet the norms in the Government hospitals, the Minister said.
The present intake capacities of the State's medical colleges are � each of Jorhat and Silchar � 100, Guwahati-150 and Dibrugarh (AMC)-175. One medical college needs an initial investment of around Rs 200 crore, he said.
Mobile theatres: The government is considering a proposal to grant the status of industries to the mobile theatres. This was disclosed by the Minister in charge of Cultural Affairs, Bharat Chandra Narah in the State Assembly on Wednesday.
Replying to a question by Rameswar Teli (BJP), the Minister said that during the period from 1987 to 2009, 28 persons involved with mobile theatres were given artistes' pension.
The Minister further said that from time to time, the Government sanctions grants for producing documentaries on different aspects of Assam's culture.