Two medical students of the premier AIIMS Bhopal, who embarked on a foot march on May 3 to protest against the institute functioning without a director since 2015, have covered 300 kilometres and have reached Shivpuri district in the state, they told PTI today.
Sant Guru Prasad, former president of the AIIMS Students Union, Bhopal and fellow medical student Chandan Aryan plan to walk all the way till New Delhi to force the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry to appoint a full-time director as well as fill up other vacancies.
"AIIMS Bhopal does not have a permanent director since 2015. In order to draw the attention of the authorities, we have decided to walk all that way to Delhi. We started this march on May 3." Prasad told PTI over phone from Dinara in Shivpuri district.
He alleged that the absence of a full-time director was hampering the progress of the institute as those appointed on a temporary basis avoided taking decisions due to the fear of stoking a controversy.
Prasad, a resident of Nalanda in Bihar, said that, besides the director, the institute had 135 faculty members against a sanctioned strength of 305.
"Out of a total strength of 700 senior residents, just 130 are working at AIIMS Bhopal. Only 403 out of 960 beds are operational, which comes to around 40 per cent," he claimed.
The acting director of the institute, Dr Nitin M Nagarkar, however, denied the charges levelled by Prasad and said that a section of students who had supplementaries in some subjects were behind the protest.
A supplementary exam is a form of further assessment offered to students who have not satisfied the passing criteria set by the educational institution for a particular course.
He said that these students wanted the administration to "pass them" in these subjects.
Prasad called Nagarkar's accusations as "totally untrue".
Nagarkar further said that the institute was shaping up well.
"No department is without faculty. Infrastructure has been created as per the requirement and number of beds too have increased," he said.
He said that the Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet would take a decision on appointing a full-time director.
Parth Deshmukh, an intern at the institute, said that a majority of the students were supportive of the march and, besides organising candlelight protests, they had also met Bhopal Lok Sabha MP Alok Sanjar.
Sanjar said that he had taken up the matter with Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda.
AIIMS Bhopal is one of the seven apex healthcare institutes established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY).
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