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Notices to 2 medical colleges politically motivated, says former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara

uraksha P
Last Updated : 16 July 2020, 09:02 IST
Last Updated : 16 July 2020, 09:02 IST
Last Updated : 16 July 2020, 09:02 IST
Last Updated : 16 July 2020, 09:02 IST

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Going tough on 25 medical colleges across Karnataka for refusing to set up Covid testing labs, the government's decision to serve show cause notice only to two colleges -- Devraj Urs Medical College, Kolar and Sri Siddartha Medical College, Tumkuru has whipped up a fresh political controversy as these two colleges belong to two top leaders of Karnataka Congress -- RL Jalappa and Dr G Parameshwara.

While Sri Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research, Kolar, is controlled by the family members of the minister RL Jalappa, the Siddartha Medical College is managed by the family of senior Congress leader and former DCM G Parameshwara.

Senior Congress leader and former Deputy CM Dr G Parameshwara in a series of tweets on Wednesday night said, "Here to inform all that a testing lab for Covid-19 is being set up at Sri Siddhartha Medical College. The process began right after receiving an order on 16th June. The lab will be ready in a few days. Covid care centres with 100 beds each are operational in both the hospitals."

"However, I question the move to send notice to only two private colleges. Why not the rest? Request the Government to not play petty political tricks amidst the pandemic. We are complying with all orders. And will continue to serve the public as we always have."

When DH contacted Parameshwara, he said, "Space has been identified in both colleges and an agreement has been signed with Genesis to set up the lab. They are in the process of procuring equipment. The lab will be operational in less than ten days. Why has the notice been issued only to two private medical colleges and not the rest?"

The Medical Council of India (MCI) had issued a circular as early as April 10 asking all medical colleges to set up Covid testing facilities. After more than three months, 25 managements out of the 52 private medical colleges in Karnataka have still not set up a lab or if they have, have not started testing.

Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar clarified that he is an alumnus of Sri Siddhartha Medical College and that this wasn't politically motivated. "I have graduated from Sri Siddhartha Medical College and Dr Parameshwara is a father figure to me. I am close to him and I have sent the notice as a minister not because the college is run by a Congress leader. While the rest of the 23 colleges have produced purchase orders of equipment, Siddhartha has not even produced purchase orders. They don't even attend meetings called by a minister. Even today, Sidhartha's management did not attend the VC."

As far as Kolar's Devaraj Urs College is concerned, the college had not been testing samples sent by the government though they had set up a lab, Sudhakar said.

"The MCI has made it clear that if they do not test Covid samples, their affiliations will be withdrawn. What is political in this?" Sudhakar questioned.

In an e-mailed response to DH, Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College Pro Chancellor Air Marshal (Dr) CK Ranjan said, "Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, has not received any notice from MCI regarding non-compliance of setting up of RTPCR laboratory at RL Jalappa Hospital and Research Centre, our teaching hospital. Our RTPCR viral (Covid-19) testing laboratory had started functioning on June 18 which is about one month prior to the Medical Education Minister’s statement."

He further went on to explain that one microbiologist and two technicians were deputed for training in Covid-19 testing at NIMHANS in April. They have increased their testing capacity to about 200 samples per day and have invested an additional Rs.32 lakh for an automated RNA extractor and TrueNAT equipment.

RL Jalappa Hospital and Research Centre since the beginning of pandemic have tested 450 Covid-19 suspects, out of which 140 turned out to be positive. In all, 8500 suspects have been screened at their fever clinic.

All inpatients and OPD patients of their hospital requiring Covid-19 testing are being tested at their own laboratory.

Samples from District Government Hospital (SNR Hospital, Kolar) are also being tested at their hospital. It is offering its facility for training of government doctors, police, technicians and health care workers. It has posted one microbiologist to SNR Hospital to strengthen its Covid-19 testing.

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Published 15 July 2020, 18:34 IST

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