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SHILLONG, July 12, 2018: Meghalaya appears to be in a tussle with Assam again over the allotment of medical seats.
State health minister A. L. Hek has sent a letter to his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma after he recently received a missive from the Assam government stating that only two MBBS seats will be allotted to Meghalaya.
The Assam government has been allotting 10 MBBS seats to Meghalaya, that is, four each in Assam Medical College and Guwahati Medical College, and two in Silchar Medical College. However, last year, the Assam government allotted only two seats.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Hek said, "Last year, the Assam government allotted only two seats. The Meghalaya government had to approach the court. With the Supreme Court's verdict, we got back all the 10 seats."
Hek said he had telephonically discussed the matter with Sarma but he was asked to send the matter in writing.
"I have prepared and will send the letter today. We demand our own right and until and unless we have our own medical college in Meghalaya, we are entitled to have the 10 seats," he said while adding that Sarma had agreed to look into the matter.
Whether the government will again approach the Supreme Court, he said, "If they (Assam government) do not listen, then we will have to follow the same procedure, and approach the court to rescue us from the problems we are facing."
On the Shillong Medical College, the minister said land is available for the construction of the college but the non-completion of the TB hospital at Umsawli has posed a problem as patients cannot be shifted from the existing Reid Provincial Chest Hospital to the new one.
"The new hospital is supposed to be a 200-plus bed hospital but the one at Umsawli, they have made it only into an 80-bed one. So it is not possible for 200-plus patients to be shifted there," he said.
"We have to again re-design the whole structure and also increase it to the expected requirements," Hek added.
Moreover, he said a free hand was given for construction to the health engineering wing. "I thought they will be consulting the matter with the Directorate of Health Services (MI) and the Reid Provincial Chest Hospital, Shillong. But there was a big communication gap between the three departments. They did not co-ordinate with each other. That is why the construction has not happened," he said.
Hek said a meeting was also convened two months back to discuss on the matter.
"We are not looking at the faults of anyone but at the solution. Yes, there will be a delay but until and unless we have full-fledged requirements in the new hospital, how can we shift the patients?" he asked.
Source: The Telegraph