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Siddha students protest over lack of recognition to college

CHENNAI (TOI): At least 25 students of the government Siddha College at Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli district on Wednesday protested outside the office of the Commissioner of Indian Medicine in Anna Nagar, Chennai urging him to direct the faculty to start classes immediately. Students were admitted to the college in 2011 but classes are yet to begin.

Officials in the department of Indian Medicine said they would not be able to start courses as the college had lost recognition. In 2011, the Central government-run department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), a wing of Union health ministry, cancelled recognition for six of the eight undergraduate Siddha medical colleges in the country. At the National Institute of Siddha, a central government institution that runs postgraduate courses, the number of seats was cut by half.

The Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM), the regulatory body for education in Indian medicine, inspected campuses and sent reports to the department of AYUSH, based on which the decision to cancel permission for some colleges, including those run by the Centre and the states, was taken.

The college in Palayamkottai, the oldest of the two government Siddha colleges in Tamil Nadu, lost recognition due to a lack of patronage from patients for the hospital attached to it. At least 40% of the beds are required to be filled. In Palayamkottai, the bed strength was only 38% in 2010, CCIM sources said.

Students said they were still waiting for classes to begin. “I got admission in September 2011 and was enrolled on October 28, 2011. Faculty told us classes will begin in November 2011. They still haven’t. Now they tell us the college hasn’t got approval,” said one. Some students have moved the Madras high court which has issued notice to AYUSH. Officials from the state health department said they had corrected the deficiencies pointed out by AYUSH. “We are hoping that the high court will give us some relief,” the official said.


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