The new building for Madras Medical College with its elegant purple glass panelling is a sight to behold.

The seven-storey structure, built on the sprawling erstwhile central jail complex, is almost ready for occupation. A few electricians are busy fixing the lift that will be used by college officials when it is ready. Of the five lifts in the building, four will be for students’ use. According to workers, the building will be handed over to the college next week.

Sources at the college said Medical Council of India (MCI) officials had conducted an inspection, but council officials have not formally sent a letter of approval for the college to increase its student intake.

MMC, a premier institution in the State, currently admits 165 students. The approval to increase its intake of students hinged on improving the college’s infrastructure. Though MMC is attached to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, the largest medical institution in the State, the college was denied permission to admit more students on the grounds that it did not have modern infrastructure. With the new building, college official hope they will soon be given MCI’s approval.

The new structure has come up at a cost of over Rs. 56 crore with each floor occupying around 4,000 sq. m. Tiered lecture halls, a spacious library, separate common rooms for male and female students and airy corridors are among the facilities available here.

The ground floor has been allotted for the anatomy block which also houses an embalming room and a cold storage facility. At present, embalming of bodies are done in the open yard behind the heritage building in MMC.

According to college authorities, the MCI approval now depends on how soon the building is furnished. “We have two months before the approval comes through,” an official said.

If MCI accords permission before the admission season for the next academic year, the college could be allowed to admit another 85 students, college authorities said.

Director of Medical Education C. Vamsadhara said the government had sanctioned Rs. 4 crore for purchase of equipment. While the college had initially sought Rs. 6 crore, expenses were later scaled down, officials said.

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