Express News Service
LUCKNOW: An uneasy calm prevails at the institute that was at the centre of the storm which saw the top Supreme Court judges locked in a power tussle last week.
While students are worried about the uncertainty as their careers are at stake, the authorities appear nonchalant claiming there is no problem.
The Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences in Banthara, 30 km from Lucknow, wore a quiet look on a smoggy Monday afternoon. Majority of the 61 students of the introductory batch of 2016-17 left days ago, especially those who belonged to other states. But a few still remain, worried but hopeful that a solution would be found.
“At present, very few (about 10) students are pursuing the course. Majority of the faculty members have also left. The physiology department is without a single teacher. There is only one teacher and he can’t teach theory,” said Varnika (name changed) of Lucknow, one of the MBBS students who feel they have no option but to pursue the course as their academic future is at stake.
Ironically, while the first-year students of the first and only batch have not yet taken their practical examinations and the results are not out, the classes for second year have begun with whatever teaching staff is left.
The institute allegedly admitted students despite being barred by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for falling short of norms. A fresh bid to get approval ran into a controversy leading to the arrest of several people, including retired Odisha High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, by the CBI which is probing the allegations against the college.
The private medical institute was among the 46 colleges that were barred by the government from admitting students for the next few years. An MCI team which inspected the institute found it not only lacking in infrastructural facilities but also contravening the laid-down norms to run MBBS courses.
The few students who still remain on the campus confirmed these allegations. “There are no proper labs are not here. In forensic medicine, there are neither labs nor teachers. So is the case with many other departments,” complained one of them.
The college authorities rejected the complaints, claiming that classes were going on in full swing. “There is no dearth of either faculty or facilities,” said joint director K P Singh, who also takes care of the finances of the institute.
However, the academic block was deserted, with very few students and no teacher visible. Even Principal Dr Shoukat Nijamsaheb Kazi was not present.
The students have not even been briefed properly about the fee structure for the four-and-a half-year course. “Some of us have paid over Rs 15 lakh for one year while others were asked to pay only Rs 11.5 lakh,” said another student. But the college authorities said the annual fee was Rs 11 lakh.
Spread over 30 acres, the institute, run by the Prasad Educational Trust, has an attached hospital with OPD and emergency sections. The medical college was started in 2014. After the first batch of 61 was inducted in 2016-17, a four-member MCI team inspected the institute but did not give certificate of approval. As a result, there was no batch in 2017-18.
A second surprise inspection followed and the institute again failed to win a favourable report. “There were two main criteria – shortage of teaching staff and lesser number of patients to run the hospital,” Singh said.
He claimed that a third MCI inspection was impending and the institute was likely to get a go-ahead for a fresh batch in 2018-19.
On September 21 this year, the CBI had arrested six persons including Quddusi, alleging that they were involved in deals to bribe senior judges in an attempt to secure favourable orders against debarment of these institutes.