State of medical education in Gujarat: This Valsad college “received” MCI clearance though it dosn’t meet any criteria

actual building for collegeBy Rohit Prajapati and S. Srinivasan*

The GMERS Medical College and Hospital Valsad is an institute managed by the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society and is affiliated to the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University. It is claimed in their website that “the institute is spread over 36 acres of lush green campus situated in the beautiful city of Valsad, South Gujarat. The nearest airport is Surat Airport which is 90 km and the nearest railway station is Valsad Railway station which is 2 km. The nearest hotel accommodation is in Daman. The campus houses college building, hospital building and residential quarters for the doctors, nursing staff and student’s hostel.”

If you visit the website and then the physical site at the ground the picture is not just contradictory but it suggests that the authorities should immediately take action against the officers who gave the permission to start the MBBS college and they should be prosecuted for such a criminal act. We are attaching the photographs for your reference. It is doubtful that the institute is meeting the MCI criteria for a teaching medical college. The college campus is more like some heavy duty construction/industrial site than an academic institute. Life and safety of staff, patients and students are severally compromised here.

Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society is a registered trust/society controlled by the Government of Gujarat. It has started medical colleges at Gotri (Vadodara), Sola (Ahmedabad), Gandhinagar, Patan and Valsad in Gujarat. In Valsad, it occupied a building meant for nursing school and setting up first MBBS departments (physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and college offices) to show to the Medical Council of India (MCI) for getting permission for starting the first year in 2012. The existing district hospital/general hospital of Valsad was shown as attached hospital.

structurre in use for one yearThe actual college building was under construction – and is still under construction – and cannot be occupied. In March 2013, practically there was no space to set up 2nd MBBS department, so the masterminds of the college and the Government of Gujarat decided to preoccupy the half-constructed new hospital building for setting up pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, community medicine and forensic medicine department and college library, reading rooms, etc. in violation of building norms and regulations without a single safety permission or basic facilities like toilet, water, lifts, fire-safety etc. Even today the reality is all most identical.

As per our information, very recently the Executive Engineer of PIU Zone – 7, Valsad, categorically stated that the campus is under construction and New Hospital building, College Building, Staff Quarters (192 Flats), Boys Hostel, Girls Hostel, Intern Hostel and Resident Hostel have not been handed over to the GMERS authority and the Medical College building work is in progress.

There is no real medical college building in a functional state, as the 1st MBBS functions from building earmarked for nursing college, while 2nd MBBS departments are in the dangerous high-rise under construction place earmarked for the GMERS hospital!

While engineers, contractors and workers move with safety gears and gadgets like helmets, safety shoes, gloves etc., the students, staff and patients are left at the mercy of the God in this campus where every square meter has some kind of ongoing construction or related activities and free movements of mega trucks, heavy cranes and such machinery.
Due to ongoing construction and related activities in and around, there are continuous, loud and banging noises, air and diesel-sets related and other pollutions affecting not only the routine working but the health of the occupants and frequent visitors.

entryThere is no drinking water, working toilets, bathrooms due to under construction nature of this high-rise hospital building. Pathways are constantly occupied by trucks, tractors, cranes, JCB machines and heavy machinery and each student and staff has to find his/her own safety and way for the movement. Dirt and filth, common to any construction site, are seen almost everywhere in and around this high rise under construction hospital building.

The road to reach this prematurely occupied building is non-existent; similarly parking is not available for the occupants and visitors of this under construction high-rise building. In fact, the parking space is illegally occupied by the college library. The safety-net to catch any falling objects from the ongoing constructions on the upper floors is installed just a few days back but cement, water and other materials are still showering through this so called safety net!

Occupying such high-rise building without proper safety and all the permissions and certificates from the builder (IVRCL infra), Project Implementation Unit (PIU of Health Department) and the town-planning and other concerned government authorities at local level is an awful, severe and unpardonable crime. It is probably the Dean of the college, Dr RD Patel, as well as the Board of the GMERS society, who are responsible for this crime going on for the last one year.

It is well known in the campus that anyone who raises voice demanding basic infrastructure, safety and facilities is harassed in a number of ways including salary cuts and adversely affecting the service records. Asking for safety and justice is considered an unforgivable offence here. Repeated written requests by the affected for details of appeal officer (to file the appeal against wrong decisions affecting the service records and/or salary) to the dean are not replied at all.

noticeSimilar is the fate of other many applications meant for either the dean office or higher offices. The administrative office is twisted in every possible way to favour some while harm others those who are pointing to repeated violations of basic provisions, rules, laws, fundamental rights and standard practices in government.

Asking for a computer with internet for preparing slide-show lectures for students and career enhancement can offend the local administration so much that the applicant is then harassed in varied ways with every possible twisting of the administrative mechanism.

The staff who has no other option as their offices-departments are established in this dangerous under construction high-rise building. Patients have no other option, as they are mostly poor people. They visit the government hospital for free services, and most importantly the young students who are shown a very green picture on the college website (http://gmersmcvalsad.org/) with 3D models of college buildings but once admitted they have no choice but to endanger and risk their lives and health daily at every step to participate in the study activities even if these are going on in/near any under-construction sites in the campus) are at extreme risk. Lives as well as health of all the concerned are at risk and under constant threat here.

So there are clear violations going on in the GMERS Medical College and Hospital Campus of Valsad of universal declaration of the human rights, fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of India, various laws of the land and various court orders by premature occupation of the under-construction high hospital building as well as by continuous construction-construction related activities and heavy machinery use in and around the so called college buildings and the old district hospital premises. Not providing proper college building even at the time of 3rd inspection by the Medical Council of India is an unpardonable offence. Indeed we wonder on what basis has the MCI has given permission to start courses in this “college”.

We demand:
1. The authorities visit the site of GMERS Medical College within 10 days to assure themselves of the prima-facie violation of rights and statutory requirements and appoint a committee to investigate the matter further.
2. Cancel the registration of the GMERS Medical College of Valsad.
3. Take immediate action against the concerned authorities who gave this illegal permission to start and run the GMERS Medical College of Valsad.
4. Transfer all the student and staff to other legal medical colleges in Gujarat so that their education does not suffer.
5. Take action against the Board of the GMERS Society and the MCI for operating a medical college in violation of basic requirements.

*Executive Committee members, PUCL, Gujarat. From the letter written to Dr Jayshreeben Mehta, president, Medical council of India

 

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