The “sudden” move by the Punjab government to change the criteria for admission to its 85% state quota seats of MBBS/BDS courses for the 2014-15 session has not only affected non-resident students of Punjab but also its bonafide residents for whom the policy was revised.
Vini Mahajan, secretary, medical education and research, told HT on Wednesday that the state government took the decision to safeguard the interests of the bonafide residents of Punjab, facing a tough competition from non-Punjab resident students.
Several medical aspirants from Rupnagar, SAS Nagar and other towns who have just finished Class 10 from Chandigarh and from boarding schools outside Punjab have suddenly become ineligible for the state medical quota as the latest notification has made it mandatory for students to have passed Class 10 along with Class 12 from a school situated in Punjab. Earlier, students passing Classes 11 and 12 from the schools in Punjab were eligible for the state medical quota, which stands revised with the new notification.
Dr Ravinder Kaur Pannu who has been living in Rupnagar for 20 years, said the notification had come as a rude shock to her daughter and the entire family. Since there was “hardly any good school” in Rupnagar, they made her commute every day to a Chandigarh school for the past 10 years. She just finished class 10 and was about to start class 11 medical from an SAS Nagar school. “But now despite being a resident of Punjab, she is not eligible for the state medical quota. It is a gross injustice with the residents of the state. The decision must be amended,” she rued.
Demanding a rollback in the move, SAS Nagar-based Sukhwinder Singh said his daughter, who had just enrolled for class 11 (medical stream) in an SAS Nagar school after finishing class 10 from Chandigarh, had suddenly become ineligible for the state medical quota in her own state. “Is it what you call safeguarding the interests of the bonafide residents?” he questioned. SAS Nagar resident Anurag Sharma, whose son is pursuing Class 12 from SAS Nagar, said his son had done Class 10 from Chandigarh, so the notification had made him ineligible both for Chandigarh as well as Punjab.
“Where should my son go now? The notification is arbitrary and has wreaked havoc on the psyche of my young son. We want immediate rollback of the new rule,” he said. The notification also has wide ramifications for those whose children study in boarding schools outside Punjab. Dr Pankaj Gupta from Ludhiana said, “My daughter is in Class 10 at a boarding school in Sanawar in Himachal. We intended to bring her back to Punjab after Class 10 for her pre-medical studies in a Punjab school. But the notification has put us in a dilemma despite being bonafide Punjab residents. Children cannot change schools at the drop of a hat. The notification is unjust and needs immediate revision.”
Another affected parent, Dr Rajiv Singla from Mansa, whose daughter is in Class 10 in a boarding school at Dehradun, said he was left with no option but to relocate his daughter to Punjab. “But it has forced me to think that are we really the residents of Punjab,” he wondered.
Chandigarh-based PMT trainer Dr Arvind Goyal said this was an anti-people notification by the state government. “It must be criticised,” he added.
Meanwhile, several affected parents from Chandigarh, whose children have become ineligible both for the Punjab and Chandigarh medical quota, held a meeting and decided to give representation to the state government before moving the Punjab and Haryana high court.