NEET PG internship completion date is July 31, says NMC; Odisha HC orders otherwise? Students to file writ petition

While the NMC informed that the date of completion of internships for these doctors was July 31, the DMET Odisha, through another notice, pegged it at March 31
File photo of Odisha High Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Odisha High Court | (Pic: Express)

MBBS doctors from Odisha are in a fix. While the NMC (National Medical Commission) informed that the date of completion of internships for these doctors was July 31, 2022, the Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET) Odisha, through another notice, pegged March 31, 2022, as the date for the same. 

“This is not valid,” states Sikha Agarwal, an MBBS student from Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati Medical College and Hospital (MKCG) Brahmapur. After a series of events, the students have decided to approach the Odisha High Court today, September 16.

The loop of problems
When the students approached DMET with the date-related problem initially, the body issued a second notice which fixed the internship completion date as May 31, 2022. “This was probably done because the MBBS doctors in Odisha were completing their internships by May. And that was fine,” said Debasis Mishra, an MBBS student from Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla.

However, the student informed that the DMET made a mistake. Along with the internship, it announced May 31 as the completion date for in-service criteria, which did not go down well with the concerned students. “The in-service quota seats are limited. If May 31 is the date for service completion, it allows more students to compete for these seats and the students who are already working in-service do not want this to happen,” he explained.

So, what the students did was file a petition in the Odisha High Court, and after two to three hearings, the court ruled in their favour. But besides changing the date for in-service completion once more to March 31, which the students wanted, the Court’s order fixed the same date for internship completion as well. Now the MBBS doctors are faced with the very same problem again, as Debasis informed.

“If March 31 is the date for internship completion, many of us become ineligible to appear for the NEET PG counselling,” Sikha said. She added that the DMET came out with its first notice on September 12, just a day before the counselling was supposed to begin. "Had we known that this was going to be the case, we wouldn’t have appeared for the exam in the first place,” she said.

“First of all, the internship completion date for NEET PG counselling is fixed by the Supreme Court and NMC. Neither the DMET nor the High Court can go against that. For the rest of the country, it is July 31. Then why should the students of only one state suffer?” Sikha questioned.

Debasis explains that the DMET has the authority and right to fix the date for the in-service criteria completion only. “Maybe the court has made a mistake, or there has been a misunderstanding,” he stated. The other students agreed. Nonetheless, they are worried. “Now if because of this mix-up we are made ineligible, we stand the risk of losing a year,” said Vishal Poddar, another MBBS doctor from VIMSAR. “Also, we are not sure if we can score this rank next year,” added Sikha. The students state that due to this issue, apart from ineligibility, many stand to lose an opportunity at obtaining a seat as well.

“Fifty per cent of the seats are reserved for AIQ (All India Quota) and the rest of the seats come under the State Quota. The students who have scored ranks in the range of 5,000-20,000 can obtain a seat through the State Quota. However, these students will now find it very difficult to find seats through the State Quota,” Debasis explained. Vishal added that the droppers who have obtained inferior ranks than them could grab these seats because they were eligible.

Trials for a solution
Debasis said that they tried calling the DMET for help, but their calls were either ignored or if at all answered, amounted to vague replies. “Sometimes they told us they do not know anything about the HC’s order. At other times they said they could not do anything about it. And in some other instances, they told us to go the court and file a case in opposition to the court’s order,” he said. EdexLive tried to reach out to the DMET several times, but the calls went unanswered.

He also said that all the affected students had sent mass emails to the DMET, but they received no response. One of the students tried to meet the DMET officials in person, but he was turned away with the excuse that the higher officials were not available. According to Debasis, the students also contacted the State Counselling Convenor Dr Geeta Sahu, Professor and HOD, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, but there was little help to be found there.

The desperate students even approached the Chief Secretary of the state, who assured them that he would look into the matter. “But we are not sure if anything will be done soon,” Debasis said doubtfully. After this rigmarole, the doctors finally decided to file a writ petition in the High Court today, highlighting all their problems. The petition has been listed for urgent hearing.

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