KOCHI: When 19-year-old Raveendran arrived at the Kozhikode Government Medical College for his MBBS admission in 1975, there was anxiety in his eyes. “Remembering my first day in college always encourages me to go for challenges,” says Dr C Raveendran, as he recalls that he had come alone all the way to the college for admission, from Perunthatta, a rural hamlet near Payyannur in Kannur district.
“My father was no more and my brothers were not able to take up my guardianship as they were not much elder to me. I came here to do justice to my father, who dreamt of making me a doctor,” he says. The 26th principal of the college had now stepped down after rising to the highest post. He was relieved on April 30, after 30 long years of service, of which six years he had served as the principal of the college.
“I owe everything to the college for encouraging me to rise to the principal’s post. I feel proud to leave after doing my bit for the college,” says Raveendran.
What made Dr Raveendran take charge as the principal of the college, which was perceived as a headache, was the desire to develop his alma mater into a better institution.
Thirty long years of experience with the college helped him to develop his own mechanism for the betterment of the college.
“For a former student and tutor, it is easy to compare the present and past situations. I am cognisant of the merits and demerits of this institution. I look to the past and study the present to prepare the college for the future,” he says.
The medical college, which is presently numbered fifth in terms of infrastructure in the country, owes much to Dr Raveendran as he was successful in introducing a new culture of joining hands with voluntary organisations for the sake of development. The tiled corridors in the hospital and the greenish lawns along with the Aurora auditorium inside the campus speak volumes about the voluntary organisations’ involvement in the uplift of the institution.
“The college was in dire need of space, facilities, maintenance and repair. The fund allocated by the government was often inadequate to meet our requirements. It seemed to be the most viable solution to seek the assistance of voluntary organisations and generous persons,” says Raveendran.
Several wards were renovated and equipment were purchased with the financial assistance of individuals and voluntary organisations.
When it comes to the major achievements, increasing seats in the MBBS and PG courses, starting new paramedical courses, new academic blocks, infrastructure development in the academic section and hospital, and renovation of various buildings expose the six-year-long hard work undertaken by Dr Raveendran’s crew during his tenure.
What the college lacks, Raveendran says, is an effective mode of discipline. “If the teachers and staff reform themselves, the students will be drawn to the new style of discipline,” he says. Even during the final moments of his service, Dr Raveendran is busy with certain proposals, which the medical college is keenly awaiting for materialisation. The procedures to get `150 crore through the dream project of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana are on, while land has been identified for the Tertiary Cancer Centre worth `45 crore. “There are some projects which are still far away from us owing to various impediments. But it is better to focus on what has been completed rather than worrying about what has not,” he says.
Exuding confidence that better times are awaiting the college, Raveendran says that it is inevitable to ensure continuity for comprehensive development.
Whenever Dr Raveendran was stern in his steps, he used to draw heavy criticism from various quarters.
“Though I do not smile a lot, I am not rigid. Whatever I have done, I have done for development. Priority was always for the well-being of the college,” he concludes.