The Meghalaya government on Friday approved the setting up of three medical colleges of which two are government and one private, with a capacity intake of 140 to 340 seats within the next two-five years.
The major decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.
Addressing the media, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh said, “We have finalized the roadmap for the immediate setting up of three medical colleges in the State of Meghalaya. We will have one in Shillong, one in Tura and one in Ri Bhoi district.”
“We will immediately start the process. We may have in the next 2-5 years, at least 140 good seats for the State of Meghalaya. This will increase proportionately every time. We are looking at a target of 240 or maybe 340 seats,” she added.
Principal Secretary in-charge Health and Family Welfare, Sampath Kumar said out of the three proposed medical colleges, one is already in the pipeline. The construction of the Tura Medical College is going on.
“The Tura medical college (however is facing) the challenges related to faculty. The Cabinet has asked the department to explore how actually that can be run using PPP mode by identifying reputed medical institutions to help in terms of operationalizing the college,” he said.
For setting up of the Shillong medical college, Kumar said the government has decided to leverage on the existing resources and infrastructures like the Shillong Civil Hospital, Ganesh Das Hospital and by leveraging the human resources, especially the specialist doctors, who can become potential faculty of the Shillong medical college.
“A committee has been constituted in this regard and based on that the proposal has been made for setting up the Shillong Medical College within the next 2-3 years. We will start with 50 seats in Shillong and over a period of time, once we bring our own faculty that will be upgraded to 100 seats,” he said.
Further, Kumar said that the setting up of a private medical college has been proposed by the University of Science & Technology, Meghalaya (USTM), which has requested for financial assistance in the form of a repayable loan to the tune of Rs 230 crore.
“That has been considered to go on a switch challenge mode, which is a unique proposal. Once we examine the entire proposal, we will put it in the public domain and ask everybody if there are any other better proposals that are there then accordingly the government will take a decision,” he said.
He also informed that “USTM have offered about 40 seats free and concessional seats and also about 25 PG seats. It is a very good offer they have given to us.”
The Principal Secretary said that Rs 247 crore was sanctioned for the construction of the Tura Medical College and the Central government is also funding Rs 180 crore for the project.
“Whereas, the Shillong medical college, since we already have existing infrastructure and around 550 beds are there besides having existing faculty that are going to be trained in the next 2-3 years to become the faculty – the projected cost would be around Rs 114 crore,” he added.
He said that the government is planning to execute the decision in a mission mode to ensure the medical colleges are set up within 24 to 36 months.
Kumar said, “For Tura medical seat, since we don’t have enough faculty there, we have to look for partnership because to run a 100 seats medical college you require 106 faculty members whereas Shillong medical college, there is already faculty to start with 50 seats and in the years to come, once we get our own faculty members, more and more doctors will get specialization, Shillong will also become 100 seats.”
Earlier, the Health Minister has also informed that the State government is also negotiating with the Government of India not to stop allotting medical seats to Meghalaya.