The Opposition on Monday walked out of the Assembly alleging continued apathy on the part of the government in ensuring admissions in private medical colleges for candidates who were in the rank list published by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations this year.

When the issue came up earlier on June 19, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar had said the government was confident of striking agreements with private medical colleges for taking 50 per cent of the students for this year’s MBBS batch from the government’s rank list.

Seeking the permission of the Speaker to move an adjournment motion on the admission issue, K. Suresh Kurup of the CPI(M) said nothing had happened since the Minister had given his assurance to the House nearly three weeks ago. Many of the private medical colleges in the State had already started taking students. The delay in striking agreements with the college managements was purposeful, he alleged. As many as 675 candidates from the government’s merit list would lose their chance to study medicine as a result.

Minister clarifies

Mr. Sivakumar reiterated in the House that such fears were misplaced. He said the Dr. Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College at Karakonam would be signing an agreement with the government on Wednesday and talks were on with nine other private medical colleges on the subject. He said none of the private medical colleges had told the government they would not set apart the seats meant for students from the government’s rank list.

The Minister said Mr. Kurup’s information that the private college had started their admission process was wrong. When the deputy leader of the Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan challenged this observation, Mr. Sivakumar modified his statement and said that under no circumstances the government would permit the private medical colleges to do as they pleased with the student admissions.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the effort of the private college managements was to “get more powers [than they had at the moment] in taking decisions with respect to filling 35 per cent of the seats earmarked for them under the management quota.” The issue would have been resolved long ago had the government conceded their demands. Fifteen per cent of the seats came under the NRI quota and the remaining 50 per cent under the merit quota. There was no question of students losing their seats.

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