BANGALORE: Postgraduate medical seat aspirants angry over the inordinate delay in the start of the third round of counselling and several ‘missing’ seats protested till late Saturday night outside the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA).
The third round of counselling for Postgraduate Entrance Test (PGET) rank holders was scheduled to start at 10 am on Saturday. The students said some were called in for counselling hours later, around 5 pm. Their chance came only after dental students were done with counselling.
They were further enraged when they found at least 19 seats surrendered at the end of the second online round of seat allotment missing from the seat matrix. “Apart from the missing seats, we have also noticed seats meant for general candidates being allotted to in-service candidates,” said Dr Anitha M, one of the aspirants.
On Sunday morning, a final break-up of seats was announced that showed a total of 251 seats available for the third round. Only seven of the 19 seats that were surrendered were added to the seat matrix, the aspirants pointed out. “When we asked officials for an explanation of the discrepancies, they said there were legal issues. There is no transparency and this is not the way to treat doctors,” Dr Anitha said.
The seats surrendered between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday were in fact included in the seat matrix, said Dr S S Harsoor, medical education director. “Since the counselling for dental seats was on, our server was busy. That’s why students could not see the seats that were added and they grew suspicious,” he said. Dental students took a “very long time” to choose seats causing the delay, he said.
According to the consensual agreement between the government and private institutions, unfilled government seats at the end of the second and final round of PGET counselling can be filled up by the managements. Many of the seats that were available for the third round of counselling on Sunday, which was conducted offline, are from branches that are in much demand such as MD anatomy, MD anaesthesia and MD general medicine.
“We conducted the third round without paying heed to pressure from private managements for the benefit of students,” Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil told Express.
A recent Supreme Court order states that June 30 is the last date of joining for candidates allotted seats in the third round.
“The government did not want to take any chances. We could have waited till we got more seats from the all India quota to conduct the third round, but that would have allowed managements to grab seats with June 30 being the last date. Also, we conducted an offline round so that students know where the seats are going,” he explained.
The government has directed private managements not to be keen on taking government quota seats, Dr Patil said. “In fact, we want to have a fourth round of counselling after we get the vacant all India quota seats. This round will also include seats that went unfilled in the third round,” he added.