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Tiruchi college gets MCI recognition, at last

CHENNAI Oct. 22. After a long delay, the state-run KAP Viswanatham Medical College, Tiruchi, has been accorded permanent recognition by the Medical Council of India.

"At a meeting on October 20 (in New Delhi), it discussed the issue and decided to recommend permanent recognition for the college," a senior MCI official said today.

The recognition has come two years after it was due and after a long struggle by State medical education officials.

With the grant of the permanent status for the college, decks have been cleared for a Rs. 100-crore project of the Centre, which has identified the institution for being upgraded to the level of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences — the country's premier Government medical college — and for being its branch in the south.

However, for graduates of the college the recognition might have come late. About 60 students passed this year but have not been able to apply to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission or for the All-India Postgraduate Entrance Examination, as the college did not have permanent recognition.

Earlier this year, the MCI wrote to the Union Health Ministry against granting recognition to the college for a "range of deficiencies". The State subsequently rectified the defects and again approached the MCI. After re-inspections by the MCI a few months ago, State officials declared that the college had been granted recognition, but it later turned out that what was given was only a "temporary status".

The college was started in 1997 and, according to Directorate of Medical Education officials, became eligible for permanent recognition in 2002, when the first batch of students began house surgeoncy.

Till this phase and until adequate facilities are available, the Centre grants only temporary recognition to medical colleges as per section 10 A of the Indian Medical Council Act. It is to be renewed annually. The process will continue until the required infrastructure is created and permanent recognition granted.

Plight of medical education

The Tiruchi college issue only points to the plight of medical education in the State. Over 60 state-run courses and several private dental and paramedical colleges do not have MCI recognition. The DME has now appointed a nodal officer to deal with the MCI and ensure that all government colleges and courses adhere to all-India guidelines.

A major grouse among the State medical education officials is that the MCI is far more lenient to new private medical colleges and accords them recognition even if they do not have adequate infrastructure.

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