Chandigarh:Having realised that the Gian Sagar Medical College located on Chandigarh-Patiala road near Banur is not in a position to get run the classes anymore, Punjab government has now initiated a process to shift all 1,550 students enrolled in different disciplines to eight medical institutions in the state.
And for that the department of Medical Education and Research has written to the Medical Council of India (MCI) seeking sanction for the move, with a mention that the state couldn’t see the students left in the lurch.
Notably, the shifting can be started only after the cancellation of the Essentiality Certificate of the College but that would take at least 15 more days as the government is duty-bound to first serve a show cause notice to the College management asking them to pay the liabilities.
If the college defaults on that, after the expiry of the notice period which will be likely two-week period, all permissions would be declared cancelled and the department of medical education would formally announce the closure of the institution.
According to information, after it was decided in a meeting headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in the presence of Medical Education Minister Brahm Mohindra passed the move two days back, the department on Monday had started drafting the notice but couldn’t be issued till Monday evening.
Through the notice, the management will be given the option to clear the liability in consonance with the government’s notice and run the institute professionally thereon, but sensing the chances of that happening too bleak, the department has already launched a parallel process to shift the students, who were already out of classes for past couple of months.
According to information, if the college authorities don’t comply with the government directions followed by the notice slapped on them, it would cancel all permissions and formally declare the institution shut after the expiry of the deadline.
“Since the government was formed about a month back, I have spent 16 days in studying and finding solution to the issue of Gian Sagar Medical College. The more we are investigating the bigger shortcomings and scandals are coming to the fore,” said Heath and Medical Education Minister Brahm Mohindra, adding that, “On the basis of preliminary inspection of record which shows the college trust a defaulter of more than a hundred crore, it is not in a position to run the institution now.”
It is learnt that the college owes the liabilities of at least Rs 108 crore which were projected during a recent audit report. While issuing the notice, the college is expected to ask to pay a sum of Rs 40 crore within two weeks, if the trust wanted to run the college.
Divulging details of the investigation, the minister informed that the college was not paying the salaries to the staff for couple of months, the outstanding of the electricity bill of the college was also too huge in figures, further the water supply had also been snapped for it defaulting on the payments.
The minister further said that the 700-bed hospital that was must to be run was now lying closed. “There is no OPD for long past. Besides, the annual maintenance of the equipment, which is must, is also lying pending that would otherwise cost a sum of Rs 18 crore,” he informed.
Minister shocked to see affairs
Expressing deep shock on the state of affairs, Mohindra further disclosed that the “cash-strapped” charitable trust that owned the college had recently bought high-end luxious cars, worth crores. The minister also showed his concern over the hiring of 40 bouncers by the college, stating: “When you (the college authorities) don’t have money to pay salary to teachers and other staff, how were you paying the salary to the brigade of bouncers that too when there was no need for such hype.”
It is learnt that sensing the shifting of students to other colleges a time consuming process, which may debar these students to sit in the annual examination due in June or July, the department is also exploring the options for Baba Farid University of Health Sciences conduct special exam for the students in such special cases.
Trustees fail to keep promise
On March 24, the trustees gave a written undertaking in a meeting convened by state Health and Medical Education Minister Brahm Mohindra, saying that they were trying to mop up funds from investors in Bengaluru and other sources, and the disbursement of staff salaries will begin from March 31.
“The college authorities lack the intention it is for what that despite knowing that the government was all set to take some serious decision during a meeting on April 15, none from their side approached us after March 31,” Brahm Mohindra, Medical Education Minister
Though the college was being officially run by the Gian Sagar Educational and Charitable Trust, having an NRI doctor as chairman but it is learnt that it had the deep connections with the multi-crore chit fund scam accused Nirmal Singh Bhangoo’s family as his daughter Barinder Kaur Bhangoo and her husband Barinder Singh Bhangoo are the managing trustees of the institution.
Legal glitch in appointing administrator
Earlier, the government was weighing the possibility to appoint an administrator or receiver to collect the next session’s fee in advance and start running the college but after a thorough meeting with attorney general the department of medical education reached a conclusion that such possibility was not there in the case of it being owned by a charitable trust. So, it was decided to issue notice to the trust and once it gets expired in the absence of compliance by the college management, the government would withdraw all permissions to run it and declare it formally closed with shifting the students to other medical institutions.
Govt unwilling to take it over
As the minister claimed that there was a legal complication in appointing receiver or administrator to run the college and hospital, asked why not the government overtakes it, the minister replied: “It is not possible as the institution seems to be having huge liabilities, worth in hundreds of crores. If we take it over, all such financial burden will lie upon us and without evaluating all that, we can’t even think of moving on that path.”