KOLKATA, 31 MAY: The post-graduate students of the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) at SSKM hospital are a privileged class, as it were, who enjoy the cool breeze of air-conditioners illegally installed at their hostel rooms while their juniors are forced to live even without the basic amenities.
More than 100 undergraduates residing at Moni Chhetri hostel on the hospital premises have to survive in hellish conditions with poor ventilation in most rooms that are partitioned by plywood walls. Moreover, there is dirt and filth everywhere with cobwebs on the walls. A pungent smell welcomes every visitor on entering the hostel that has wooden stairs and plywood partitioning making the structure vulnerable to fire.
“We’ve to spend around one-and-a-half years of the total duration of our MBBS course before being shifted to another hostel," said a student residing in the hostel on condition of anonymity.
If the picture inside is bad, the condition outside is horrible, to say the least.  The ongoing construction work for the trauma centre has virtually blocked the entry passage with the ground being dug up for the work. Students have to negotiate the uneven muddy passage to enter the hostel.  "The condition worsens during rains as it increases the risk of being injured in  potholes," he said, adding, "the dilapidated condition of the building makes it unsafe for students". The hospital authorities have plans to raze the hostel which was once the residential quarters of renowned doctor Moni Chhetri after the construction of the New Academia building is over.  The two-storey new academia building to be built at an estimated cost of a little over Rs 9 crore would comprise the hostel for undergraduates, the auditorium, the canteen and the office. But meeting the deadline of September this year would be virtually impossible going by the slow pace of work, say officials of Mackintosh Burn Limited.
The officials said they are yet to receive payment for their work.  "Financial hurdles have slowed the pace of work as the Public Works Department (PWD), the implementing authority, is yet to make payments to us from the money to be released by the health department. We hope to receive it in the coming months," said a company official. The Medical Superintendent of SSKM, Dr Tamal Kanti Ghosh, admitted the project was running behind schedule.  sns