With 19 days to go before the first batch of freshers arrive at the Madras Medical College (MMC), shifting labs, whole libraries and heavy equipment is holding up the college from shifting into their new campus. According to the hospital’s administrators, the shifting needs to be done by professional movers because of the tonnage involved.
“We have called for a tender that is expected to be worth Rs 20 lakh, just to shift the anatomy labs and other heavy machinery from our existing campus to the new one. This tender will be opened in another five days and once the mover is appointed, the shifting will begin immediately,” said Dr V Kanagasabai, Dean of Madras Medical College.
The other thing that is holding up the moving process is that furniture is yet to arrive. Despite the fact that the tender was floated a few months ago and duly awarded, the sheer quantity of custom furniture needed for the classrooms has caused a delay. “We are confident that it will arrive in the next 10 days after which we will breathe easy,” he added. Ironically, for the 250 students who will enter the college this year, the old-school charm of the teak benches in the gallery-style classrooms in MMC will be replaced by modern 3-seater tables – much like any engineering college.
In fact, the first year medicos will spend their entire year on the new campus and will not have any reason to spend time on the 178-year-old MMC campus – unless they’re sportspersons, meeting professors after hours or are hostelites. With the top rankers (mostly with a 199+ cut-off) being inducted into MMC, as is tradition, this may just reduce their interaction with their seniors and fifth-year residents. “I think we will be ragging-free this year, because of the low chance of interaction between first years and other students,” said a senior doctor at MMC.
It may be recalled that the land was procured by the Madras Medical College almost immediately after the Central Prison (that used to be bang opposite Chennai Central Station) vacated the premises and moved to Puzhal. The proposal to build a modern campus at a cost of Rs 58 crore to accomodate more students and de-clutter the existing campus was floated in 2009 and work began in early 2010. Though the college premises was supposed to be pressed into service for the academic year 2012-13, the work was marginally delayed and was completed only in October 2012. It was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in May this year, via video-conferencing.