Dentists at work
Dentists at work

Overrun by private dental colleges, TN to finally get a second Government Dental College and Hospital in Virudhunagar  

TN Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami announced that the college would be constructed soon and 100 BDS seats would be added to the state's stock of medical and dental seats

If you thought that the ratio of private hospitals to government ones in India was frightening, this one will be a sure shocker. Tamil Nadu currently has 28 privately run dental colleges as opposed to the lone Tamil Nadu Government Dental College, situated opposite the prestigious Madras Medical College.

Finally, 82 years after it was first started as a dental hospital, the TN Dental College is set to get company. TN Chief Minister Edapaddi S Palaniswami in a statement on Wednesday announced that they had decided to sanction the funds necessary for a new Dental College and Hospital at Virudhunagar. A senior health department official said, "A Medical Director for the college is being identified and he will take charge of the whole process. We are looking at starting the college by the next academic intake for the benefit of students in the South of the State."

South Scope for Dental Seats 

The proposal to start another State-run Dental Hospital had been bandied around for years because activists and dentists have been talking about how it is difficult for poor students to study dentistry when there is only one government college offering 100 BDS seats — while all the other seats (close to 2500) are controlled by private colleges, across the state.

While dental and medical fees in state-run colleges are restricted to a bare minimum of within Rs 15,000 for a year, private institutes have been known to charge anywhere between Rs 3-15 lakh as fees for a year.

Off the proposal board

Late CM J Jayalalithaa had announced the proposal two years ago in the Assembly (August 2015) and stated that it would come up on a budget of Rs 50 crore. A source with the Dental Council of India stated that the state had made an expression of interest while the allocation of BDS seats would only be done when the infrastructure and faculty were set in place, "It should not be an issue when it comes to new colleges," she said.