In a step forward, the students of Government Medical College Manjeri in Malappuram District called off their indefinite strike after the government assured them they will meet the demands put forth by the students.
The students were demanding the appointment of teachers for the vacant positions in all the departments. The strike that began on Tuesdaywas called off by around 12.30 pm on Friday. Eight students were also on hunger strike as a part of the protest.
“We need basic facilities, from a mess hall to hostel rooms. But our main demand was to fill the vacancies of teachers. The government, after a meeting of the health minister with the students’ representatives on Thursday morning, have agreed that all the vacancies will be filled through general transfer. Priority will be given to the Manjeri Medical College during fresh appointment of doctors. Also the Chief Minister has directed the health ministry to ensure that our demands are met,” Ansila K, a third year student told The News Minute.
The college has in total 400 students in four batches. “All the students were taking part in the strike irrespective of politics. Surgery department was the most hit with staff deficiency. After we began the strike, the government ordered posting of four teachers and two junior assistants for the surgery department,” she added.
Gynaecology, general medicine, paediatrics, dermatology, orthopaedics and psychiatry are some of the other departments where shortage of staff is acute. “We trust the minister and are calling off the strike now,” Ansila said.
“In all the departments, the shortages of teachers is more than 50 per cent. There are only three or four teachers in almost all the departments instead of 20 or 22 teachers. Also, the college doesn’t have a hostel building. Part of the college building is being used as hostels for men and women. If there is a separate building for a hostel, that space could be utilised for patients,” said Vishak R, a final year student.
The government has assured that the construction of the hostel building will commence in three months. The government has ordered that a meeting with the district collector, the MLA and the health secretary should be conducted in the college to look into the lack of basic facilities on May 25. On May 30, the vice-principal, who is in charge after the principal’s retirement, should collect the orders regarding the filling of vacancies from the authorities.
The students also say that there is space crunch in the out-patient causality. “At a time there would be 45 students, a doctor and scores of patients, struggling to find space to stand,” said Yasir R, a final year student.
The hospital, reportedly also doesn’t have an emergency causality and patients are sent to Kozhikode, which is 49 kms from Manjeri. There are no staff quarters, leading to doctors coming from other districts to seek transfer at the earliest. There is no clinical lecture hall or procedure hall for the students. Manjeri is the sixth government medical college in the state and was inaugurated in 2013 during the tenure of the previous United Democratic Front government led by the Congress.
In the past, students protests raising various demands, in Law Academy Law College Thiruvananthapuram, Fatima Mata National College Kollam and Upasana College of Nursing in Puthurchira Kollam have been successful.