Mumbai: The state's admission process for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) came to an end on a bitter note as several candidates alleged that they were denied admission by some medical colleges in the final institute-level stray vacancy round.
While this round was to be conducted online in a centralised manner, the state government at the eleventh hour decided to run it at the institute level. The decision came despite an earlier directive by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to conduct the entire counseling process, including stray vacancy rounds, for private medical colleges, via online mode. The medical education counsellors alleged that the state's decision allowed colleges to fill seats with their favoured candidates.
As soon as the first state-level stray vacancy round was over on September 26, the medical education department directed the Common Entrance Test (CET) cell to conduct the second stray vacancy round at its level only for the government medical colleges. The vacant seats at the private colleges were to be filled via an “institute-wise online counseling process through the CET cell”.
Accordingly, the CET cell asked the students to directly apply to their college of choice by email. The institutes were directed to display their own separate merit and wait lists while the candidates were supposed to confirm their admission by physically visiting the college. The government had appointed 'observers' at the college to ensure the process was transparent.
Allegation by student
A student who had applied at SSPM College, Sindhudurg, complained that the college simply refused to admit her despite including her in the selection list. “After verifying my documents, a selection list was displayed which had my name. However later in the evening, the college authorities asked us to pay ₹10 lakh, which we couldn't. When the final selection list was out, I didn't find my name in it. However, it had another student in the same caste category with much lower marks,” bemoaned the student.
The college is run by the BJP leader and union minister Narayan Rane. While speaking to FPJ earlier, he claimed that the students lost their seats as they had deficiencies in their documents.
Another candidate, who sought admission at Vedanta Institute, Palghar, complained that when he reported to the college on Saturday, he was stopped at the gate and told that all seats had been filled. “When the final selection list was released, I found candidates with lower scores than me in it,” he asserted. Dr Shubhangi Parkar, dean of Vedanta Institute, didn't respond to calls and messages.
Fraud practices: Thane-based counsellor
“Medical admissions have always been riddled with fraud. There was no reason to change the process. The state could have done the counselling process centrally instead of handing it over to the institutes,” said Muzaffar Khan, a Thane-based counsellor.
Despite the institute-level round, 19 out of 7,324 undergraduate medical seats on offer at government and private medical colleges have been left vacant.