Ramdas walks out in a huff from a meeting chaired by Chief Minister

Two sister departments in the State are at loggerheads again over the control of Ayush medical colleges. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has staked claim over these colleges which are under the Department of Medical Education.

The simmering dispute reached a flash point on Monday with Minister for Medical Education S.A. Ramdas walking out in a huff from a budget preparatory meeting chaired by the Chief Minister.

Following an argument and the Minister’s walkout, budget proposals of the Department of Medical Education were not taken up while those of the Health Department were submitted as scheduled at the meeting.

A similar dispute had surfaced when J.H. Patel was the Chief Minister and the then government had collapsed even before the issue could be settled.

Clarification sought

On Monday, Mr. Ramdas wanted Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to clarify which department enjoyed the jurisdiction over Ayush colleges.

Top officials sources told The Hindu that Mr. Ramdas informed the Chief Minister that Ayush medical colleges and pharmacy colleges were under the Medical Education Department and they should continue under it. There are 77 Ayush colleges in the State, including seven run by the government and five aided institutions. The 219 pharmacy colleges include 83 that offer diploma, 58 degree colleges and 58 post-graduation colleges.

However, Mr. Ramdas is said to have been interrupted by a top official from the Health and Family Welfare Department, who asserted that as per the Transaction of Business Rules, all Ayush and pharmacy colleges were supposed to be under the Health and Family Welfare Department. An argument ensued, resulting in the Minister’s walkout.

“An irked Mr. Ramdas insisted that these colleges were under the Medical Education Department right from 1977. But he was corrected by the official, who said these colleges were brought under the ambit of the Medical Education Department only in 2006 without amending rules,” the sources said.

The Chief Minister was reportedly informed by the official that in 2006, when Nafees Fazal was Medical Education Minister, files pertaining to these colleges were submitted to the Medical Education Department without amending rules. “However, as per norms of the councils of Ayush and pharmacy, it is not necessary that these colleges be with Medical Education Department,” the sources said.

Other issue

This is not the only instance of differences between the two departments. Health and Family Welfare Minister Aravind Limbavalli and Mr. Ramdas have also been at loggerheads over the issue of setting up seven new medical colleges. While Mr. Ramdas is firm on establishing the colleges in Chamarajanagar, Tumkur, Haveri, Chitradurga, Koppal, Gadag and Madikeri, Mr. Limbavalli has made it clear that the district hospitals (which are under the Health Department) could be shared only for clinical facilities through a memorandum of understanding between the two departments.

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