KOLKATA: Medical College and Hospital Calcutta (MCHC) principal on Tuesday afternoon fell ill right after holding a press conference at his office, where he announced the allotment of hostel seats to 276 students.

He was initially admitted on the campus but later shifted to ITU at SSKM Hospital. Doctors said after Bhadra’s BP fluctuated and he underwent tests, including that to detect cardiac problem.
The campus has been under deadlock since June 27, when students launched a protest over not getting accommodation in hostels and demanding a transparent procedure for allotments. With the authorities reportedly refusing to listen to their demand that they be allotted rooms in the new 11-storey hostel, six students sat on hunger strike on July 10 and later, two more joined in.

The principal came out with a circular that the new hostel would house only freshers, citing MCI guideline that the newcomers should be kept away from seniors. But the students cited a rider in the rulebook that said if a separate block was not available for freshers, the authority should monitor seniors’ access to the plac.

“According to the MCI guideline, we cannot put up freshers with old students in the same hostel. So, we are allotting rooms to 276 older students in the old hostels. There has been no counselling for hostel allocation for the past three years. There is no reason for the current agitation,” Dr Bhadra said in the press conference, adding the old hostels would be repaired soon. No official list for hostel allocation was, however, put up on the notice
board. Bhadra is slated for retirement in September.

The agitating students dubbed the authority’s announcement of allotting hostel seats to 276 students “an eyewash” and threatened to go on mass hunger strike if their demands were not met with. “The 276 students were allocated hostel without counselling, but we demand transparent counselling procedure for hostel admission. The principal’s move will only boomerang. We will intensify our protest,” said Sayanatn Mukhuti, a final-year MBBS student. The students alleged that around a dozen male students were allotted rooms in the girls’ hostel. They also claimed those taking active part in the protest did not find a place on the hostel list.

Around 30 doctors, including a few alumni, visited the campus to show their solidarity. Of them, 15 sat on a 12- hour token hunger strike. But some in the college administration claimed the doctors had political motive and were “creating undue pressure on the principal”. Other students’ groups like, the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation, submitted their memorandums. “We are also against the appointment of an MBBS pass-out as the superintendent of the new hostel,” said an agitating student.

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