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Rohtak PGIMS students back on stir, as meeting with Khattar on bond policy yields no result 

Haryana CM's proposal to take back upfront Rs 10 lakh payment not enough, say MBBS students. PGIMS spokesperson asserts it has no say as institute is only implementing order.

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Rohtak, Haryana: After being physically removed and manhandled by Rohtak police on Friday midnight, MBBS students of Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS Rohtak) were back on protest demanding the rollback of Haryana government’s bond fee policy.

Outside the director’s office in the early hours of Sunday morning, the second- and third-year medical students painted posters for their silent protest.

A medical student paints a poster during their silent protest at PGIMS-Rohtak on Sunday | The Print | Suraj Singh Bisht
A medical student paints a poster during their silent protest at PGIMS-Rohtak on Sunday | The Print | Suraj Singh Bisht

These students have been protesting against the Haryana government’s bond policy which mandates a compulsory 7-year government service and signing an annual bond for ₹10 lakh at the start of every academic year.

The bond states that if medical graduates in Haryana wish to pursue a private job after their degree, they need to pay Rs 40 lakh to the  government. The protest was triggered after the Haryana government asked students to pay Rs 10 lakh upfront at the time of admission this year.

“This bond puts the career of many poor students at stake. Those coming from poor families select government colleges so that they can receive good education at affordable rates. This bond completely shuts such meritorious students out of the system,” Priya Kaushik, a second-year student who met Chief Minister M. L. Khattar on Saturday, said.

A 11-member student delegation met Khattar but the medical students were not satisfied with the outcome of the talks.

“The CM has said that the state government will forgive the amount if a graduate is not able to get a government job and has taken back the move of students having to pay Rs 10 lakh upfront. However this does not solve the issue. We want a complete removal of the bond,” Kaushik said.

The  delegation members claimed that the chief minister told them that the provision of the bond was brought into place to aid the government with capital to set up more medical institutions in Haryana.

On his part, Khattar had said Saturday that the policy’s objective was to bring more doctors into the government system. “If a doctor is unable to get a government job after completing their degree, the loan amount will be waived off.”

The students need not pay the amount upfront and instead sign a bond-cum-loan agreement with the college and the bank, Khattar had said.

ThePrint reached out to Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij and Additional Chief Secretary, health, G. Anupama through phone calls but there was no response. This report will be updated once a statement is received.

A PGIMS spokesperson told ThePrint that since the institute was only the implementing body, it had no say in the matter.  “The protest is against a government policy. We are trying our best to ensure communication between students and authorities. We even facilitated a meeting between the CM and the student representatives on Saturday,” the spokesperson added.

Also Read: ‘Removed for CM’s visit’ — Khattar govt draws flak for police ‘brutalities’ on student protestors

Detained, FIR against students 

Videos of students being manhandled by the Rotak police surfaced on social media on Friday. The police also used water cannons to disperse the protesting students. Over 300 students were detained on Friday and kept at the station till late evening hours of Saturday.

Upset with the police action, female students claimed that there were no female constables present in the van when they were being taken to the police station. “When food was brought for us, constables present at the [police] station took it away and did not permit us to eat,” one of students claimed.

MBBS students take break during their silent protest at PGIMS-Rohtak on Sunday | The Print | Suraj Singh Bisht
MBBS students take break during their silent protest at PGIMS-Rohtak on Sunday | The Print | Suraj Singh Bisht

The police action came ahead of the visit of the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Home Minister to PGIMS campus for the convocation on 5 November.

Rohtak Superintendent of Police Uday Singh Meena denied the claims of the students and said that the police provided the students with all the facilities.

“Because the students moved their protest to the institute auditorium, it created a problem with the CM’s security protocols. We requested the students to move and when they refused to comply we were forced to use force,” the SP said.

He claimed that the police used minimal force since the doctors were sitting in silent protest and that water cannons were used sparingly to disperse the protesters. All the available female police personnel were deployed, he added.

An FIR was registered against unnamed students under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant), 332 (causing harm to public servant), 353 (assault on public servant), and 427 (causing damage to property) of IPC.

Bond Policy 

The bond policy came into effect on November 6, 2020 stating that the candidates selected for MBBS course in government medical colleges need to execute an annual bond for ₹10 lakh minus the fee at the start of every academic year.

Candidates can pay the entire bond amount without recourse to the loan, else it will facilitate them for availing an education loan for this bond amount, the government had said.

Students and parents claimed that the bond does not specify whether a student can pursue post graduation after graduation in the 7-year service period.

“If my daughter serves for seven years after her graduation, when will she pursue PG? When will she start her individual practice? Do they want doctors to start their careers in their 40s? Why should we have to pay Rs 40 lakh just for her to start her career? Haven’t these students toiled enough?” Amit Bharadwaj, the father of a protesting student, present at the institute said.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: MBBS books in Hindi add more problems to the syllabus. Amit Shah, BJP didn’t think though

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