Ramya Kannan

CHENNAI: The Health Department will meet on Sunday to decide the fate of the seats due from Chettinad Medical College and Hospital, which was accorded ‘Deemed to be University’ status on Friday, Health Secretary V.K.Subburaj told The Hindu.

The college had refused to concede 85 per cent of the sets private medical colleges are supposed to surrender to the State quota. Instead, it had suggested a formula that would require them to hand over only 83 seats. The government had accepted this offer and included these seats in the second round of counselling.

Chettinad Hospitals had declared last week that it had been granted deemed university status by the Ministry of Human Resources Development. It had also announced its courses for the year 2008-2009, including the 5-year MBBS course.

Mr. Subburaj said: “It is now a tricky situation, with the college being accorded this status. They have sent us a letter declaring their status. We now have to take a decision on the next course of action.”

At the same time, an announcement from the Secretary, Selection Committee, declared that the “institute will not be included in the seat matrix for allotment of candidates for MBBS course under self-financing category during the counselling to be held on August 13.”

The second round of counselling (including re-allocation of vacant seats) was scheduled to begin on August 11, Wednesday. “It is the usual practice to slot government quota seats from self-financing colleges for the second phase of counselling. Students, in the first phase, want to opt only for government medical colleges, so the Chettinad quota naturally was slotted for the second phase,” said Director of Medical Education T.P.Kalaniti.

The Selection Committee had earlier mentioned on its website that the seats from the Chettinad Medical College would be available in the government quota.

The College is also required to undergo a process of ‘de-affiliation’ from Tamil Nadu Dr.MGR Medical University. According to sources at the university, the de-affiliation would have to be sanctioned by the varsity’s governing council, the next meeting of which will be held only on August 20.

Sources added that the two existing MBBS batches at Chettinad Hospital will continue to be under the control of the university until the students pass out.

The uncertain situation has led to a sense of anxiety among students, who hoped to make use of the seats offered through the government quota (with government fee structure). C. Ramachandran, educationist and former secretary, Selection Committee, says the position becomes further complicated as its seats were mentioned as part of the quota mentioned by the Selection Committee.