Port Blair, Sept. 3: The Lt. Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, PVSM, AVSM has requested the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad for restoring the number of MBBS seats allocated to the students of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to 18 atleast.

In a letter to the Health Minister, the Lt Governor have expressed his disappointment with the decision of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for reducing the number of MBBS seats allocated to the UT of A&N Islands from 18 to 15 for the current academic year 2012-13. He further stated that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare allocates MBBS/BDS seats from the Central Pool quota in favour of Andaman & Nicobar Islanders every year. Until last academic year 2011-12, the Ministry was allocating 18 MBBS seats in various colleges of mainland for the students of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The Lt Governor further stated that even a small UT like Puducherry has been endowed with a number of Government-run and private-run medical colleges, which cater to the needs of their student community. The Union Territory of A&N Islands is situated far away from the mainland and does suffer from paucity of land availability and trained manpower resources, for which so far no medical college could be established, either in the government sector or in the private sector. Lately, action has been initiated to start a medical college. However, it may take some more time to commission the same. Therefore, the students of this UT depend for now at least, solely upon the allocation of seats made by the Central Government to pursue MBBS course. Due to the limited number of MBBS/BDS seats allocated by the Central Government, many aspiring and meritorious students of this UT do not get their due opportunity to pursue medical education, and in fact there is a consequent and persistent demand for enhancing the allocation of MBBS seats.