Slow start to medical counselling

HYDERABAD, AUG. 30. Computer glitches and power failures marked the opening day of counselling by the NTR University of Health Sciences to fill 1,800 MBBS and 171 BDS seats in Government and private colleges on Thursday.

The university authorities had planned to complete counselling for candidates who figured in the first 500 ranks of EAMCET-2001 but they could interview only 100 candidates from 8.30 a.m. till noon.

Each candidate was required to submit his/her rank card to register and submit original certificates for verification before being called to choose between the 13 medical and six dental colleges and between MBBS and BDS. The software had been so designed by the National Informatics Centre that the computers would not accept the candidates' choice unless the previous two formalities were completed. An error at any stage held up the progress.

For the first time, counselling is being conducted area-wise in line with the High Court's direction striking down college-wise counselling. Also, candidates in the open category are being summoned for counselling on the first three days and those in the reserved categories from September 3 to 8 in view of the experience last year when verification of caste certificates by Social Welfare officials delayed counselling for everyone.

The Vice-Chancellor of NTR University, Prof. G. Sham Sunder, told The Hindu that college admissions would begin from September 14 and classes for medical and dental undergraduates from September 21. ``We have learnt lessons from the past and made the counselling fool-proof,'' he said when reminded that litigation in the past had forced postponement of admissions up to January.

During the next ten days (September 1 is a holiday due to Ganesh idol immersion), the NTR University will fill 375 MBBS seats in the Sri Venkateswara University area at Tirupati (143 plus 7 Non- Resident Indian), Kurnool (147 plus 3 NRI) and Anantapur (85 plus 15 NRI) besides 443 in the Andhra and Nagarjuna University areas at Visakhapatnam (150), Kakinada (143 plus 7 NRI) and Guntur (150). All these 32 NRI seats and seven more in Kakatiya Medical College, Warangal, are to be filled by the Government.

In addition, 738 MBBS seats in the Osmania and Kakaitya University areas will be filled in the following break-up: Osmania (200) and Gandhi (150) in Hyderabad, Warangal (143 plus 7 NRI), Deccan College of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad (38 free and 75 minority including NRI seats to be filled by the management), Mamata Medical College, Khammam (50 free, 35 payment and 15 seats to be filled by the management) and Kamineni Institute, Narkatpally, Nalgonda district (50 free, 35 payment and 15 to be filled by the management). Another 100 medical seats are available in Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, under the State-wide quota.

As for BDS courses, there are 40 seats each in the Government Dental College at Hyderabad and the NTR University, Vijayawada. Besides, the Army College of Dental Sciences, Secunderabad, has six seats exempt from the Presidential Order and 34 to be filled by the Army, the CKS Teja Institute at Tirupathi 30 free, 21 payment and nine to be filled by the management, and the Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur has 20 free, 14 payment and six seats to be filled by the management.

The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that the Centre had sanctioned 100 dental seats in a private college at Nellore. These would be filled in the second phase of counselling.