After the first round of counselling for Bachelor of Dental Sciences (BDS) admissions conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, concluded on Wednesday, around 80% seats remained vacant in colleges of Punjab. The situation has left private colleges particularly worried.
There are total 16 dental colleges in the state, 14 private and two government, that have 1,070 and 80 BDS seats, respectively. However, by the conclusion of the counselling, only 200 seats were filled. And, as per sources in Baba Farid university, these 200 too may shift to MBBS if and when seats are increased. The case for increase in MBBS seats in many colleges of Punjab is under consideration with Medical Council of India.
Dr Kamal Baghi, president of Punjab Unaided Private Medical and Dental Colleges’ Association, said, “It will cause huge loss to the state’s economy”. He said, “Considering that each student spends Rs 4 lakh every year, if 1,000 seats remain vacant there will be a yearly loss of Rs 40 crore. And, this effectively being a five-year course, there will be a direct loss of Rs 200 crore to the state economy, plus Rs 200 crore indirect loss as colleges will be closed and almost 5,000 employees and their families will be affected.”
Hopes are bleak. In the results of the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) declared on June 7, only around 1,100 students have scored 50% or above marks to be eligible for admission to general quota in MBBS or BDS. But the seats are around 2,200. Two more counselling rounds are remaining, due next month and in August.
Dr Baghi questioned the 50% criterion. He said 80% of the population in Punjab has rural background “so AIPMT cannot be the criteria for ascertaining the merit, as standard of this test are very high in comparison to tests conducted by state”.
The state-level test is no longer held after Punjab agreed with a Centre’s policy to this effect.