Chandigarh: The Punjab Government has identified three sites and constituted a three-member committee to finalize “better” site to relocate the newly set up Mohali medical college, where classes for the first MBBS batch with 100 seats started last month.
The three-member committee of senior IAS officers, comprising principal secretary KAP Sinha, principal secretary (PWD) Anurag Verma and principal secretary (medical sciences and research) Hussan Lal, has been tasked with picking one ‘better’ site for Mohali medical college.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Institute of Medical Education (AIMS) is the 4th government-aided medical college in Punjab after Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot. It is situated on the outskirts of Mohali in Sector 56. The Rs 300-crore project was sanctioned in 2012 during the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) regime under central-state shared funding in the 60:40 ratio. The Institute was announced to establish a medical college attached to the existing district hospital.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB), under the National Medical Commission (NMC) had issued the letter of intent to Dr B R Ambedkar Institute of Medical Sciences, Mohali for its 100 MBBS seats for 2021-2022 academic session.
The director principal of Mohali-based Dr B R Ambedkar Institute of Medical Sciences had clarified that all the admission would be made through Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, (BFUHS). She had assured that the institute would probably commence the 2021-2022 academic session by January or February.
The college was set up in the buildings of the existing Mohali civil hospital, Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) and a training institute of the health department.
However, due to the medical college being next to a drain, a relocation plan was made. Considering it as an inappropriate location for the college, Punjab health minister Dr Vijay Singla had sent a proposal to the chief minister to relocate the medical college.
Citing lack of land for expansion, Singla had expressed displeasure over the site selection, stating that the 10-acre land available in the college’s vicinity was not adequate to expand it in the future. According to the previous plan, the medical college was to be further expanded to Jujhar Nagar, which is around 2 km from the present site.
Though the state government’s intention to relocate the college had been opposed by former Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, the Punjab government, a couple of months after mooting the proposal, has finally come up with three sites to shift the newly set up medical college in Mohali.
The sites were shortlisted by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) on state government’s directions.
According to a recent media report in The Hindustan Times, the sites shortlisted for the medical college are at the previously proposed Jujhar Nagar, near Phase 6; Medicity in New Chandigarh, and Sector 81, where the Punjab government had acquired 381 acres to set up an integrated Knowledge City in 2009.
While the civil hospital is to be eventually shifted to Sector 66, the other two offices have been moved to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) building in Phase 8.
The committee is slated to meet in the coming week.
On the other hand, according to Sidhu, the previous government had made 35 acres available for the college, already spent crores and secured all necessary approvals to start the first session.
However, Mohali MLA Kulwant Singh told HT that the current site was not conducive for a good college environment and will be shifted to a better site within Mohali.
College principal Dr Bhavneet Bhatti also told the daily that Jujhar Nagar was not suitable for the college. “The college should be set up at an appropriate location, which will provide a healthy atmosphere to students and patients.”
Initially started with 100 MBBS seats, the institute will eventually be upgraded to 220 seats. The four government medical colleges, apart from private ones, offer around 1,500 seats in all across Punjab.