Health Minister Adoor Prakash said here on Friday that the four medical colleges proposed in the current year’s revised Budget would start functioning in 2013.

The Minister told the media that land had been obtained for the medical colleges proposed to be set up at Badiyadukka in Kasaragod district and Konni in Pathanamthitta district. The building for them would now have to be constructed. The colleges proposed in Mancheri in Malappuram district and the Painavu in Idukki district would use the facilities and land of the general hospital and district hospitals respectively. Each college would have 100 seats for the MBBS course.

Mr. Prakash said that of the medical colleges proposed in the coming year’s Budget, the one at Harippad would be built with public-private participation. The investment in other colleges remained to be decided.

He said that the government had decided to take up a project for modernisation and strengthening of health care institutions in rural areas with NABARD funding. NABARD would provide loans carrying 6.5 per cent interest repayable in seven years.

He noted that a high level committee headed by the Chief Secretary had approved six projects such as establishment of a pharmaceutical sciences college at Kottayam and new building for Kottayam, Alappuzha and Thrissur medical colleges.

The Minister announced that Sankaramangalam V. S. Paramesawan Nair had been chosen for the Ashtangaratna Award instituted by the government and the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine to recognise life long contributions to Ayurveda. Dr. C. A. Raveendran, Kollam, won the Dhanwanthari Award for contributions to research and treatment in Ayurveda while Senior Medical Officer P. Latha won the Charaka Award for the best doctor in the Department.

The Aathreya Award for best teacher in Ayurveda went to T. Sreekumar of Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College, Ollur, and Vagbhata Award for contributions to Ayurveda in the private sector to Job Thomas, Chief Physician at the Ayurveda Pharmacy Combatore Limited. K. R. Suresh of District Ayurveda Hospital, Idukki won a special award in recognition of his contributions in various spheres connected with Ayurveda.

The awards would be presented at a function here on March 28.