The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on the recommendation of the Medical Council of India (MCI), has recognised the Banas Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) in Palanpur, Banaskantha. The Centre’s nod came on Thursday, days before the beginning of the new academic session.
To be affiliated under Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, Patan, the 150-seat college is touted to be the country’s first “trust-run teaching hospital” under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and also the first to be run by a dairy co-operative, Banas Dairy. After the government, semi-government and self-financed medical colleges, PPP is the fourth set-up to be introduced in the state.
Banas Dairy, which is a member of Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), popularly known as Amul, floated the proposal of a new trust to offer community services, which was endorsed in its general body meeting held on July 7, 2016. A new trust — Galbabhai Nanjibhai Patel Charitable Trust — was registered by the Charity Commissioner on September 17, 2016. It received the permission from the state government on July 6, 2017. On July 7, 2017, the trust applied to the MCI for the college and hospital.
The existing Palanpur Civil hospital, spread over six acres, will now be run by the trust, though it will be monitored by the state government. A new college and research institute will come up on a 22-acre land around 9 kilometre away from the hospital.
Incidentally, the college has been in controversies since its inception, owing to the involvement of former minister of state for health and family welfare Shankar Chaudhary, Banas Dairy chairman, who has been accused of “misusing his position” to get permissions for the trust and the college. Chaudhary was the ex-officio chairman of Galbabhai Nanjibhai Patel Charitable trust till he resigned from the post on June 24, 2017. Mavjibhai Desai, the current trust chairman, replaced him. By then, the proposal of a medical college was already mooted by the trust.
“Yes, it is true that the college has been approved by the MCI and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to start operations from 2018-19,” said Chaudhary whose political career received a setback as he was repeated from Vav in the 2017 state assembly election but lost to Congress candidate Geniben Thakor.
Mavjibhai, Chaudhary’s aide, lost the 2017 state assembly election from Dhanera seat. He is the vice-chairman of Banas Dairy and the chairman of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Deesa. “The state government will be funding the 300-bed hospital since there will be no change in the existing civil hospital charges, but additional facilities are being added up. The funding by the state government has been fixed for five years, taking the expenses incurred by the hospital in the year 2016-17 as the benchmark,” said Dr Viren Doshi, the officer on special duty (OSD) at the college. Refusing to reveal the fee to be charged from the students, Dr Doshi said that it would be as per the state government’s decision and regulations.