Thiruvananthapuram: The controversy triggered by the consent letters to increase seats in self-financing medical colleges to accommodate the 10% hike in quota has prompted the state government to quietly wash its hands off the issue by clarifying that the additional seats were applicable to government medical colleges only.
In its letter dated May 20 asking the state to apply for increasing seats, the Centre had specifically mentioned that the quota hike was meant only for government colleges. Besides, there was no clarity on the issue of who will pay the higher fees if the 10% quota is implemented in self-financing medical colleges.
The dispatching of two consent letters in a span of two days and the two cancellations which followed to remove confusion have clearly exposed the inefficiency of the state government.
First consent letter on Tuesday
Eight non-minority self-financing medical colleges were given letters granting permission to apply for seats by the principal secretary-health on Tuesday evening.
Surprisingly, scam-tainted SR Medical College Varkala and Kerala Medical College Palakkad that had to shift its students to other institutions due to lack of facilities were given permission to increase seats. This, along with its decision to ignore minority colleges, created a controversy.
Second letter on Wednesday
By Wednesday afternoon, the government issued another consent letter for 14 self-financing medical colleges having minority status. The letters had the dates and numbers same as those issued on Tuesday. However, the deadline for applying to the Medical Council had expired by Tuesday evening. Even though the first letter was issued after the deadline, anticipating this, several colleges that had found place in the first lot had applied beforehand for increase in seats. Several colleges that got the second letter never knew about this.
By then the media pointed out that the increase in seats was meant only for government medical colleges. The government soon realised its mistake and sent out fresh consent letters to eight colleges by Wednesday evening.
It washed its hands off the issue saying that the seat increase was meant only for government colleges and self-financing colleges can approach the Medical Council to raise their demands.
In its correction letter to the 14 minority self-financing medical colleges, the government said that the Medical Council had explained that that they are not eligible to seek a rise in the number of seats under the 10% EWS quota. In case of objections, they can approach the council.
All the four letters were prepared by an under secretary on behalf of the principal secretary-health.