The raging controversy surrounding admissions of over 456 students undergoing Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course in 11 private colleges has sent the Punjab government as well as the college managements into a real tizzy.
Even as Punjab medical education minister Bhagat Chunni Lal said he would "look into the matter on Saturday", fate of the students hangs in balance. Just four days are left for the first-year exams to begin, but the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, has refused to issue roll numbers on the grounds that these students' admissions have not been regularised.
This has triggered a blame game between the colleges and the government. What has further complicated the matter is Dental Council of India (DCI) rejecting state government's proposal to regularise the admissions.
HT has been highlighting this matter after reporting it first: '11 pvt colleges reduce Punjab pre-medical test to a farce', February 23. While the government's official stand so far has been that the 11 colleges admitted students to the BDS course in gross violation of the rules, regulations and guidelines issued from time to time, the Punjab Private Self-financed Dental and Medical Colleges Association has squarely blamed both the BFUHS and the state government for the mess.
"We have strictly followed the rules that govern admissions to medical colleges," said Dr CS Bal, principal of Amritsar-based Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Dental Surgery and Research.
Endorsing his views, principal of Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Dr DS Kalsi said: "The admissions were conducted in a legal manner."
But anxiety has engulfed the students whose future seems to be in jeopardy. "What is my fault? Who will compensate for two years of my life, if these get wasted due to this fight between the DCI and Punjab government," asked Sunali Vohra, a native of Gurdaspur and a student of Sukhmani Dental College, Dera Bassi (SAS Nagar).
Sources say the cost of first-year BDS education is at least Rs 3 lakh per student. This money now hangs in the balance, as it's not clear whether these colleges will issue refunds or not.
Asked about it, Dr Kamal Baghi, president, Punjab Unaided Private Medical and Dental Colleges' Association, said that first the management of these colleges would go to court in the interest of these students.
A student at Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Ludhiana, said, "We had gone to the college on Thursday to get the roll numbers. The college authorities have directed us to come again on Monday but they did not inform why roll numbers were not given."
Quaintly, principal of SKS Sarabha Dental College, Sarabha, Dr Manisha Prabhakar, expressed ignorance about the matter. She said the university had not issued the roll numbers but she had no information regarding "any admission issue".