To improve the accessibility of quality medical education and healthcare, Punjab government plans to construct three new medical colleges. The government has plan to set up a college each in Pathankot, Sangrur and Gurdaspur. For setting up a college in Gurdaspur, the state government has written to the Union government to provide a grant of ₹500 crore under the centrally sponsored scheme for establishment of new medical colleges. Under the scheme, the Union government will contribute 60 percent of the total money for the college, while the remaining 40 percent will be the share of the state government. For the other two colleges, the health department has asked Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to rope in private players interested in running medical colleges in public-private partnership (PPP) mode. The executive committee of the board has accorded in-principal approval to set up both colleges in PPP mode.
The government has also earmarked a site of around 30 acres in Sangrur for the college, which is located near Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) satellite center. Land for the Pathankot college is yet to be identified. The development board will start the process of hiring an adviser to prepare the results-framework document (RFD) to invite proposals from private players after allotment of land for Pathankot college. There is already one medical college—Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar—in the state which is being run on the PPP mode. According to senior official, in case of PIMS, the government had provided land and constructed the college building. However, due to financial constraints, the government is planning only to provide land to private players, thus pushing their investment requirements high.
There are a total of 10 medical colleges in Punjab—three state-run and seven private—having as many as 1295 MBBS seats. Of total, 845 seats are in private colleges. Former registrar of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, Dr Pyara Lal Garg said the government should open new medical college in each district. He, however, raised concern over the plan of government to opt for PPP mode. “They are privatizing medical education and it will do no good. There is already one medical college being run on PPP mode and it has been marred by controversies,” said Dr Garg. – TOI