The New Indian Express - - FRONT PAGE - NAMITA BA­J­PAI @ Luc­know

An un­easy calm pre­vails at the in­sti­tute that was at the cen­tre of the storm which saw the top judges of the Supreme Court locked in a power tus­sle last week. While stu­dents are wor­ried about the un­cer­tainty as their ca­reers are at stake, the au­thor­i­ties ap­pear non­cha­lant claim­ing there is no prob­lem. The Prasad In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences in Ban­thara, 30 km from Luc­know, wore a quiet look on Mon­day af­ter­noon. Ma­jor­ity of the 61 stu­dents of the in­tro­duc­tory batch of 2016-17 left days ago, es­pe­cially those who be­longed to other states. But a few still re­main, wor­ried but hope­ful. “At present, few (about 10) stu­dents are pur­su­ing the course. Ma­jor­ity of the fac­ulty mem­bers have also left. The phys­i­ol­ogy depart­ment is with­out a sin­gle teacher. There is only one teacher and he can’t teach the­ory,” said Varnika (name changed), one of the MBBS stu­dents who feel they have ab­so­lutely no op­tion but to pur­sue the course.

THE stu­dents of Prasad In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences in Ban­thara in Ut­tar Pradesh are wor­ried about the un­cer­tainty as their ca­reers are at stake. Their col­lege was at the cen­tre of the storm with the top Supreme Court judges locked in a power tus­sle last week.

While the first-year stu­dents of the first and only batch have not yet taken their prac­ti­cal ex­am­i­na­tions and the re­sults are not out, the classes for sec­ond year have be­gun with what­ever teach­ing staff is left.

The in­sti­tute al­legedly ad­mit­ted stu­dents de­spite be­ing barred by the Med­i­cal Coun­cil of In­dia (MCI) for fall­ing short of norms. A fresh bid to get ap­proval ran into a con­tro­versy lead­ing to the ar­rest of sev­eral peo­ple, in­clud­ing re­tired Odisha High Court judge Ishrat Mas­roor Qud­dusi, by the CBI which is prob­ing the al­le­ga­tions against the col­lege.

The pri­vate med­i­cal in­sti­tute was among the 46 colleges that were barred by the gov­ern­ment from ad­mit­ting stu­dents for the next few years. An MCI team which in­spected the in­sti­tute found it not only lack­ing in in­fras­truc­tural fa­cil­i­ties but also con­tra­ven­ing the laid-down norms to run MBBS cour­ses.

The col­lege au­thor­i­ties re­jected the com­plaints, claim­ing that classes were go­ing on in full swing. “There is no dearth of ei­ther fac­ulty or fa­cil­i­ties,” said joint di­rec­tor K P Singh, who also takes care of the fi­nances of the in­sti­tute.

How­ever, the aca­demic block was de­serted, with very few stu­dents and no teacher vis­i­ble. Even Prin­ci­pal Dr Shoukat Ni­jam­sa­heb Kazi was not present.

The stu­dents have not even been briefed prop­erly about the fee struc­ture for the four-and-a hal­fyear course. “Some of us have paid over `15 lakh for one year while oth­ers were asked to pay only `11.5 lakh,” said an­other stu­dent. But the col­lege au­thor­i­ties said the an­nual fee was `11 lakh.

Spread over 30 acres, the in­sti­tute, run by the Prasad Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, has an at­tached hos­pi­tal with OPD and emer­gency sec­tions. The med­i­cal col­lege was started in 2014. Af­ter the first batch of 61 was in­ducted in 2016-17, a four-mem­ber MCI team in­spected the in­sti­tute but did not give cer­tifi­cate of ap­proval. As a re­sult, there was no batch in 2017-18.

A sec­ond sur­prise in­spec­tion fol­lowed and the in­sti­tute again failed to win a favourable re­port. “There were two main cri­te­ria – short­age of teach­ing staff and lesser num­ber of pa­tients to run the hos­pi­tal,” Singh said.

He claimed that a third MCI in­spec­tion was im­pend­ing and the in­sti­tute was likely to get a goa­head for a fresh batch in 2018-19.

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