The Assam government has confirmed that it would not change the quota of ten seats for students from Meghalaya in medical colleges.
Meghalaya health minister, A L Hek on Friday said that he had a talk with Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on the issue, who assured that Assam would not change the quota.
“After receiving a letter from the Assam government that only two out of ten seats would be allotted for Meghalaya, I called up the Assam health minister and requested him that the quota should continue till Meghalaya has its own medical college,” Hek said, adding that the Assam health minister has assured that the ten medical seats that were allotted for Meghalaya would continue.
In September last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Assam government to allocate 10 medical seats to Meghalaya out of the 27 available seats in Assam.
The apex court passed this order after hearing a special leave petition filed by the Meghalaya government against the Assam government for abolishing 10 medical seats that were reserved for the hill state.
Assam has been reserving 10 medical seats for Meghalaya – four each in Assam Medical College and Hospital and Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and two in Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
Meghalaya stated that according to the sixth paragraph of the minutes of the meeting of the joint committee, held on March 15, 1976, on division of assets and liabilities between the two governments, it was agreed that Assam would provide Meghalaya all facilities available in “common institutions (including medical colleges)” located in Assam, provided that the expenditure was shared on pro-rata basis.
Asked about the proposed setting up of medical colleges in Shillong and Tura, the main town in Garo hills, Hek said that construction of the medical college at Tura will start soon since the work order has been given to a firm that would execute the work.
Initially, Rs 189 crore has been earmarked for the construction of Tura medical college with a state share of 10 per cent. The total cost of the medical college will come to over Rs 500 crore.
Telecommunication Consultants India Limited was engaged as consultant for the construction of the Tura medical college.
On the delay to start the construction of Shillong Medical College, Hek said that construction of the college would take place only after the present Reid Chest TB Hospital at Mawbah here is shifted to a new TB hospital at Umsawli near the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences.