Union health and family welfare minister J P Nadda on Wednesday approved 100 seats for the Gondia Government Medical College (GMC) allowing admissions from the current academic year. He also approved an increase in seats from 50 to 100 for Dhule Government Medical College.

Also, given the available infrastructure, Nadda told the Nanded medical college to apply for an increase in seats from 100 to 150 and announced a 150 crore grant for the college under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakasha Yojna (PMSSY).

With the addition of 100 seats for Gondia GMC, Vidarbha now has 850 seats in the region’s six government medical colleges. Chandrapur medical college was the last to get Medical Council of India (MCI) clearance for 100 seats this year.

Dr Pravin Shingare, chief of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), told TOI that the minister made these announcements during a function at the Nanded college. “I emquired with the minister about the status of the Gondia college. Though DMER had included Gondia GMC in the list of colleges for admissions this year, the admissions were subject to MCI approval. The council had submitted to the high court at Nagpur on June 9 that it was considering the seats issues positively and told the DMER to submit the compliance report to MCI’s ‘overview committee’. Now after the health minister clearing the seats, there is no need for MCI’s approval,” he said.

The state government had submitted the Gondia GMC compliance report to the MCI’s overview committee on June 11. As per MCI norms, the college should have a unitary college building and the required staff and infrastructure. During the last inspection, MCI pointed out that the college was short of 12 resident doctors (including senior and junior residents) apart from certain infrastructural deficiencies.

There were only 33 residents of the required 45 present during inspection. The remaining 12 reached the college late and the council refused to consider them as staff. The college is being presently operated from the old district hospital building while the construction of college building is on.

The Dhule and Nanded colleges have shifted to the new buildings this year. The Dhule college is 26 years old but had just 50 seats. The new building and infrastructure paved the way for the increase in seats at Dhule GMC and a possible increase of 100 to 150 seats for Nanded college by next academic year. Nanded is the fifth GMC, after the ones at Akola, Yavatmal, Latur, Aurangabad, to be brought under the PMSSY in the second phase in Maharashtra.