In an effort to increase the number of doctors in the state, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has proposed for six new medical colleges in the state. Though the sanction of the medical colleges is subject to clearance from the central government and the Indian Medical Association, but the state health department officials that if they get the clearance from the Centre then they will be in a position to start at least two of the proposed medical colleges.
According to sources in the health department, the state government has proposed for six new medical colleges - one each in Arambagh in Hooghly district, Uluberia in Howrah district, Barasat in North 24 parganas, Tamluk in East Midnapore, Jahjargram and Jalpaiguri.
The state government officials are hopeful that they can at least run two medical colleges from 2022 session if the central government gives the permission. "At present the state produces 3,400 doctors per year and we hope to start with 100 doctors from each of the new medical colleges and in that case, it will make a substantial increase in the number of the doctors in the state.
The state has proposed for all the medical colleges in the rural areas and it will alsohelp in increasing the health infrastructure of the rural areas," a senior health department official said.
"For a full-fledged medical college, we need one administrative building and a hostel apart from all the other facilities needed in a hospital. In most of the places where the medical colleges are proposed we either have a district hospital or a multi-specialty centre and in Arambagh and Jalpaiguri we have both. So, infrastructure will not be a problem. In the rest of the places also we hope to develop the infrastructure soon," the official added.
According to senior government officials, it needs around Rs 300 crores to develop a medical college and for that 60 per cent of the money is being provided by the Centre and another 40 per cent is provided by the state. "The state government has started the process of applying to the central government and once the process is over, the Centre will send officials for verification. After the inspection is over then it will give the sanction," the official added.
The state government is hopeful that once the Centre gives the approval it will help not only meet the deficit of the doctors in the state but at the same time it will help in developing the rural health infrastructure. "During the Covid pandemic the health infrastructure of urban areas have improved a lot but, in that way, the rural infrastructure has not been improved. Once the medical colleges come into being it will help to improve the health infrastructure of the rural areas of the state," a senior government official said.