The parents of many candidates have sought centralised counselling for filling the leftover seats in the non-resident Indian (NRI) quota at the state's medical colleges.
Seeking transparent admissions to the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) courses, the parents on Thursday visited the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) and met the vice-chancellor. The V-C, however, left his office reportedly to meet the chief minister.
The government had allowed private colleges to fill the leftover seats (63 of 104 in MBBS and 175 of 179 in BDS) on their own. "The government has given private colleges the freedom to loot candidates and ended transparency in the admission process," said a parent (name withheld because he wants to protect his ward's interest). "There should be centralised counselling for the seats, as it had been scheduled earlier."
"The government's statement on Thursday that all leftover seats in the two medical steams be filled after September 15 on the basis of merit in the Punjab Medical Entrance Test, 2012, is only damage-control exercise," said the parent. "If the government is sincere, why doesn't it allow the BFUHS to conduct centralised counselling."
"This is only a policy to divert attention from controversy," said another parent. "After September 15, the seats will go back into the hands of private colleges, and there will be no transparency again."
On September 10, the department of medical education and research had issued a corrigendum, through which it had allowed the colleges concerned to fill the leftover seats for an additional fee of Rs 4 lakh each for the MBBS course and Rs 1.5 lakh each for the BDS programme. It resulted in the "seats on sale" scandal, in which the price for medical college seats touched Rs 50 lakh and middlemen came in.
Last year too, some private colleges allegedly had enrolled ineligible candidates. "Our children have waited long for counseling," said a parent. "They have not applied elsewhere or sat another examination. It has been about four months since the entrance test."
"Private colleges have orders to reschedule counselling," said a parent on telephone, "but we are afraid that the candidates will be selected in secret and only a counselling notice will appear in newspapers. If the admissions are not transparent, we'll move court."
Highly placed sources in the BFUHS said the university would fill only 17 seats in the government colleges, and the rest of the seats, which are in private colleges, will be allotted as those institutions would allow.
The university will accept applications and process these, Dr Shavinder Singh Gill, vice-chanceller of the BFUHS, has confirmed. He accepted that he had met the CM on Thursday, but denied that he had disclosed anything about the filling of seats. "The latest instructions to us from the government are being uploaded on our website," he said.
Till the filing of this report, however, there was no new information on the portal.
How it began
The government had allowed private colleges to fill the leftover expatriate-quota seats (63 of 104 in MBBS and 175 of 179 in BDS) on their own
What it did
It ended transparency in the admission process and resulted in the "seats on sale" scandal, in which the price for medical college seats touched Rs 50 lakh and middlemen came in
What has changed
There governing university had earlier scheduled centralised counseling, but now after September 15, the seats will go back into the hands of private colleges
BFUHS hands tied
The governing university can fill only 17 seats in the government colleges, and since the rest of the seats are in private colleges, their rules will apply
Who will suffer
Waiting candidates have not applied elsewhere or sat another examination for about four months since the Punjab Medical Entrance Test (PMET).