Haryana: Students of government medical colleges continue protests against bond policy

This week, letters threatening rustication were sent to the agitating students' homes by the PGIMS college administration
SHKM, Haryana MBBS doctors on hunger strike | (Pic: Sourced)
SHKM, Haryana MBBS doctors on hunger strike | (Pic: Sourced)

Protests continue across government medical colleges of Haryana against the bond policy. While students of the PGIMS (Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences) Rohtak were recently served with notices threatening rustication, a hunger strike continues at the Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati (SHKM) Government Medical College, Mewat.

Here's what's happening:

PGIMS Rohtak
This week, letters were sent to the agitating students' homes by the college administration. These notices mention that students have been agitating in front of the Director's office "since last many days which has disrupted the smooth functioning of the administrative office, public work and MBBS admission counselling". It adds that as such, students are not attending classes and further threatens them with consequences like not being allowed to sit for exams, expulsion from hostels and rustication.

"Many of the students received these letters," said Pankaj Bitthu, a student from PGIMS, speaking to EdexLive. "None of our issues were considered, so we are continuing our protest. The administration has stopped responding altogether," said Akash Mehra, another student from the college. He added that on November 10, the MBBS doctors took out a protest march in Rohtak and submitted a letter to the DRO (District Revenue Officer). 

The students say that they are yet to submit a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of PGIMS, Dr Anita Saxena. And today, November 11, they are protesting against the policy at the PWD (Public Works Department) guest house in Gurgaon. The Resident Doctors' Association (RDA), Amritsar has also condemned the bond policy and expressed its displeasure over the use of water canons recently on protesting students.

Updates from other colleges
Meanwhile, protests have been reported from other government colleges in Haryana as well. Students of the Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College (KCGMC) are conducting a havan on their campus in Karnal for the rollback of the bond policy. And more than 250 students are on a hunger strike at the Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati (SHKM) Government Medical College, Mewat, near Gurugram.

"The students here (SHKM) are caged. They are locked inside the college and are not being allowed to move out. It is a situation of emergency," claimed Dr Karan Juneja, Chairman, IMA (Indian Medical Association) Junior Doctors Network Haryana, who is supporting the protesting students.

Meeting the policymakers
Last night (November 10), a group of students met the State's Health Minister and other government officials regarding the matter. "It was a short meeting and no positive response was received," informed a student of PGIMS. Questioned about the circulating news of a possible solution proposed by the government, students say they are not aware of anything as such. However, Hardik, another MBBS student, added that since the state's government's bond policy is against the NMC's (National Medical Commission) mandate, they are hoping for the Centre to intervene and bring out a suitable solution.

The issue
It may be noted that protests against the bond policy have been continuing since the beginning of November. Students state that the bond policy is unfair. Their major concerns lie in the fact that with the implementation of the policy, they have to shell out a huge amount of money while taking admission to MBBS courses. Moreover, the policy does not guarantee them any job after they earn their degrees.

The MBBS doctors of the state have put forth a list of demands before the government, out of which, the rollback of the policy and provision of job guarantees are the principal ones. The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) Haryana held an online meeting with Dr Saxena, VC and other members of the administration on November 3 regarding this matter. Then, in a conversation with EdexLive, the Director of PGIMS, Dr SS Lohchab, had stated that the government has given its word to look into the matter. But students now say that nothing has been done.

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