Mumbai: Four medical aspirants belonging to various marginalised groups have alleged that they were denied admission to their allotted by a private medical college in Sindhudurg for various dubious reasons.
The institute, Sindhudurg Shikshan Prasarak Mandal (SSPM) Medical College at Kudal taluka of the district, was established and run by the BJP leader and union minister Narayan Rane, who has denied the allegations.
The candidates, who are from Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Caste (OBC) and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) categories respectively, in the first stray vacancy round of MBBS admissions. However, when they reached Sindhudurg on Tuesday, the college authorities refused to confirm their seats on one pretext or the other, alleged students. These candidates stand to lose a year as they are out of admission process.
'Refused Seats on Flimsy Grounds'
One of the EWS students from Mumbai was denied admission due to a difference in her family's stated annual income in EWS and Income certificates. The student's plea that the difference is only around Rs 1 lakh and that both the documents indicated less than Rs 8 lakh annual income, as required for EWS students, fell on deaf ears.
"The college authorities inexplicably asked me about the number of attempts I took for admission and my bank balance. When I responded, they told me that I wasn't worthy of pursuing the course and that the college will lose its reputation if I was admitted," claimed the student.
An ST candidate from Kalyan was also turned away because she had brought a cheque, instead of demand draft (DD), to pay a part of the college's hostel and mess fees and various deposits.
"We were allotted the seats on Saturday and had until Tuesday to confirm them. As the banks were closed on Sunday, we had to get the DD made on Monday so that we could travel to Sindhudurg by Tuesday. Since I don't have an account in a nationalised bank, I couldn't get a DD for such a huge amount. While the rules allow both cheques and DDs, the college insisted only on the latter," she said.
The SC and ST candidates are not required to pay any tuition fees and while the OBC and EWS students get 50% concession. However, they need to pay under various other heads.
Minister Defends College Amid Charges of Seat Selling
Rane, on the other hand, claimed that the aspirants couldn't get admission due to deficiencies in their submissions. "We didn't do it on purpose. The students are required to submit the necessary documents and make the payment within the stipulated time. But they couldn't do so until Tuesday. Once students are allotted a seat, we can't deprive them of it," he said.
"We haven't been able to fill our 150 seats. Why would we deny anyone admission? Every student is important to us. But if we flout the norms the National Medical Commission (NMC) will hold us accountable," Rane added.
As they were unable to confirm the stray round seats, the candidates have now been removed from the admission process and are ineligible for the final institutional round, where the colleges are required to fill their vacant seats on their own. Of 7,334 seats available for medical admissions this year, 141 seats (85 state quota and 56 management quota) are still up for grabs.
The CET Cell has now requested the state Directorate of Medical Admission and Research (DMER) to probe the complaint. "The fate of these students will be decided after the DMER submits its findings," said a CET Cell official.
This isn't the first time the SSPM College has faced allegations of denying seats. The Cell had received a similar complaint from a candidate last year, but the authorities didn't find any fault with the college.
"SSPM College has been a repeat offender. These students have been denied admission on flimsy grounds. The colleges often hold back the seats so that they can be sold at a much higher price in the institutional round. The government should do away with the offline admissions and conduct the entire process centrally," said Sudha Shenoy, a city-based medical education counsellor.