Issues such as fate of employees will determine the decision’s outcome

The imminent takeover of the Pariyaram Medical College managed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-controlled Kerala State Cooperative Hospital Complex and Centre for Advanced Medical Science (KSCHC&CAMS) in the wake of a Cabinet decision to appoint the District Collector to assess the assets and liabilities of the institution is likely to be a major issue of political confrontation in the district when the focus turns on the specifics of the takeover, including the fate of the employees working in the institution.

Déjà vu

In the wake of the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to appoint the Ernakulam and Kannur District Collectors to assess the assets and liabilities of the Kochi and Pariyaram medical colleges under the cooperative sector, there is a sense of déjà vu in the political circles here as the medical college founded 20 years ago has never been outside the political spotlight.

The management of the medical college promoted by Communist Marxist Party (CMP) leader M.V. Raghavan, then an archrival of the CPI(M), had been taken over in 1997 by then Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. Mr. Raghavan and the UDF had then alleged that the takeover was for political reasons.

The medical college being managed now by the CPI(M)-controlled director board of the society, what political stand the CPI(M) will adopt to the takeover move by the UDF government remains to be seen.

Responding to the Cabinet decision, CPI(M) leader and chairman of the KSCHC&CAMS M.V. Jayarajan said the takeover proposal would not attract any public opposition if the medical college was going to be turned into a government institution similar to the Kozhikode Medical College.

Jayarajan’s stance

“It has to be seen whether the UDF government’s decision is motivated by good intentions,” he said adding that he would react after the government disclosed details of the takeover bid.

Mr. Jayarajan’s response is an indication that the takeover will not be opposed as long as it covers all the existing employees working in the institution.

So the major issue of contention involving the takeover will be whether or not all the existing employees in the medical college will be elevated into government employees.

The CPI(M) leadership has already stated that the takeover will be opposed if it is just to disband the existing director board to pave the way for its handover to those who controlled the previous director board, namely UDF leaders led by Mr. Raghavan.

The institutions controlled by the KSCHC&CAMS, including the medical college, dental college, pharmacy college, paramedical college, nursing college, and a public school, at present employ over 1,950 staff.

The proposed takeover of the PMC has been a lively issue since the UDF high-power committee last year recommended the takeover of the Pariyaram and Kochi medical colleges.

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