Lyari medical college opening in the doldrums
Karachi, May 07: Hopes for the start of the first academic session at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical College (SBBMC) being established in Lyari are fading away as nothing on the ground has been done for several months owing to a lack of interest on the part of the Sindh government and dilly-dally tactics by some bureaucrats.
The college had been orchestrated to be a 'gift for Lyariites' from President Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP co-chairperson, in recognition of their great sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the country and their decades-long struggle against dictators to propel the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) into power corridors.
The college's establishment was supposed to be completed on a top priority as the infrastructure required for a medical college was available within the Lyari General Hospital (LGH). The government had decided to start academic activities for the time being at the hospital building and later shift the college to a new structure to be built on the hospital premises.
Since the project was fully supported by President Zardari, arrangements were made swiftly to accommodate the first batch of students in the Ayaz Sammo Nursing School, which was established within the LGH vicinity in 1989 and inaugurated by the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto. A sum of Rs50 million had been spent on the rehabilitation of the LGH building to ensure proper education, training and health facilities for a large number of stakeholders.
There was also a suggestion that once made functional, the hospital, medical college and nursing institute should be integrated in a manner that the whole institution takes the shape of a medical complex. The facilities and services should be upgraded to the extent that the institution could become a university and be named after Benazir Bhutto.
When the planning and initial phase of construction was over, applications for enrolment of the first batch were called with an announcement that the academic session would begin in September 2010.
However, the process of equipping the college with staff and essential facilities came to a grinding halt a few months back, because a summary for the release of Rs100 million could not get through the finance department.
Sources in the provincial government said that two summaries had now been sent to the chief minister in a last-ditch effort to get the process resumed and ensure the launch of the medical college as per the original plan. One of the summaries, which was sent to the CM's House on April 2, pertains to the hiring of faculty while the other relates to the procurement of medical equipment, fixtures and furniture, generators, etc.
The sources said that some bureaucrats were putting hurdles in the approval of summaries by raising objections. They feared that if the summaries were not approved immediately, it would not be possible to start the session in September or even the next year. They pointed out that a lot of time was needed to sort out technicalities even after the approval of the summaries. They said that recruitment of non-academic staff, including administrative officers, demonstrators and support personnel would take further time..
Meanwhile, students willing to get admission in the college were disturbed by the delays hitting the academic process. Coming from the lower and lower-middle class, they fear that any disruption causing postponement of the launch of the college by one year or more would ultimately cost them their precious year.
The sources claimed that attempts to remove encroachment from around the hospital building were also facing hurdles, as some influential figures within the government were resisting such a drive. They said a senior government official had called the deputy district officer of revenue (Lyari Town) and warned him against making any attempt to get the illegal occupants of the spaces around the building evicted. The occupants, they said, had been operating their warehouses or workshops on the government land for long and the authorities concerned wanted to evict them to ensure free access to the hospital building. The sources said that the officials concerned had sought provincial government's help in getting about four acres of the hospital land vacated but the illegal occupants of the land were not ready to move out. It has also been learnt that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, Islamabad, has not yet issued a licence for the medical college, which could further delay the session. DawnYour Comments
Two young men perish as vehicle collides with NED bus
Karachi: Bilal Ahmed, 26, and his friend Aziz Basheer, 25, were killed when their speeding car (AL-7344) collided with a NED University bus (AE-3864) and then fell into the Malir River near Korangi Crossing in the Korangi Industrial Area police limits, while they were returning home.
After the incident there was a traffic jam. Bodies were recovered after an hour. Both the bodies were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for legal formalities.
Police said that they were residents of Garden and Gulshan-e-Iqbal police area. The news