Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate, on April 17, the new campus of the NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute, the only medical college in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The institute, which had been operating from a leased building, is now set to shift to its own campus spread across 35 acres in Silvassa. It has become a beacon of hope and a symbol of growing aspirations of the people of the region, around 40% of whom are tribals. Prime Minister Modi had laid the foundation stone of the medical college in 2019.
The infrastructure has come up at a cost of ₹203 crore and features state-of-the-art amenities such as a multi-storey library, academic block with four lecture halls and an auditorium, club house, residential accommodation for faculty and hostels for students, and provision for outdoor and indoor games.
Dr. T. Arun, the Union Territory's Health Secretary, said, "Pursuing higher education, especially medical education, has been a far-fetched dream for students of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Earlier, before the establishment of the medical college, only 10-12 students from the Union Territory could get the opportunity to avail seats in medical colleges all over India from the Central pool quota allotted to the Union Territory each year."
“The Union Territory could establish a medical college only in 2019 when, with the support and guidance of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health, the NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute began functioning,” he said.
Dr. Ramchandra Goyal, the dean of NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute, said the medical college started in the 2019-20 academic year with a capacity of 150 MBBS students. The number has been gradually increased to 177 with 27 seats for students from the Economically Weaker Sections. At present, there are 682 students enrolled in the college. "The target is to increase the number of seats to 200," Mr. Goyal said.
Third-year student Mitesh Jha said he considered himself fortunate unlike the meritorious students of his previous generations who had to battle to make it to the limited number of medical seats from the Union Territory to fulfil their dream of becoming doctors.
"There has been no medical college in the Union Territory since Independence. I am happy that I am able to pursue medical education," Mr. Jha said. He is also excited about the Prime Minister's visit to inaugurate the new campus and is looking forward to interacting with him. "I am very much excited about getting to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.
This change in the area is summed up by Mehak Bhasara, a first-year student from the tribal community. She is a native of Randha village in Silvassa district.
"Nobody in my family, not even in my entire village, could become doctors. It's my fortune that a medical college has come up in Dadra and Nagar Haveli," she said, adding that she will serve the people of the area after becoming a doctor.
“Through this medical college, students from poor families are also able to fulfil their dreams of pursuing medical education,” she said.
Located four kilometres from the medical college, the Shri Vinoba Bhave Civil Hospital attached to it caters to the needs of the entire population of the Union Territory and the adjoining villages of Gujarat and Maharashtra, in addition to other States.
Set up in 1952 and earlier known as Cottage Hospital, it was a 60-bed facility with bare minimum amenities before being expanded to 316 beds. It is currently functioning with 650 beds and being upgraded to 1,270.
Besides the NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute, PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the proposed Ayurvedic Hospital and Wellness Centre, planned to come up in a serene area near Madhuban Dam on 40 acres of land with lush green surroundings. It is estimated to cost ₹70 crore.