Deadlock over reservation of medical seats expected to be resolved

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Shillong, Aug 24 (UNI) The deadlock over the reservation of seats for the local students of Meghalaya in the prestigious North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) is expected to be sorted out tomorrow.

The Meghalaya government has demanded 30 per cent reservation of seats for the indigenous students of the state in this prestigious medical institute.

On August 3, the Khasi Student's Union (KSU) had stalled the maiden entrance test for the course for the MBBS course in NEIGRIHMS after the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry refused to reserve 30 per cent of the seats for the indigenous people of the state.

''We will try to break the deadlock over the issue tomorrow with Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss,'' Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee told UNI here over the phone today.

The medical institute also postponed today's entrance exam for the course, which was supposedly to be held in Guwahati. Altogether, 2,738 students have been selected to appear for the entrance test.

''If the number of seats cannot be increased, we would have to prepare the State Reservation Policy from among the allotted nine seats,'' Mr Chatterjee added.

Earlier, Dr Ramadoss had made it clear to Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy that there could not be any kind reservation for the NEIGRHIMS' MBBS course as the Institute was listed as a ''centre of excellence''.

The Chief Minister, however, said he would continue to persuade the Ministry to allow the state government to select the students on merit basis, as presently done in other medical institutes.

''If Manipur has been allotted more than 30 per cent of seats at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal, and Pondicherry with 27 per cent in Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research for the indigenous people, what is the harm of applying the same yardstick for Meghalaya,'' KSU chief Samuel Jyrwa said.

The Union Health Ministry had decided to start the MBBS course in the institute with the first intake of 50 students, including 24 students from those Northeastern states which do not have a medical college.

An autonomous institute, NEIGRIHMS is Central Government-funded and the region's lone post-graduate medical institute and the third in the country to be set up by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 422.60 crore.

Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared NEIGRIHMS as a national institute on January 22, 2000, when he had visited Shillong. The progress and development of the institute has been keenly monitored by the Prime Minister's Office.

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