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The Hindu
The Hindu
Jayanth R.

Two government medical colleges to start in Ramanagara and Kanakapura

Karnataka government has now decided to start two government medical colleges in Ramanagara district - one on the upcoming Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science (RGUHS) campus in Ramanagara town and another in Kanakapura, the constituency of Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar. 

If this goes through, Ramanagara will be the only district in the State to boast of two government-run medical colleges. These colleges will be less than 30 km apart. 

The Directorate of Medical Education, Karnataka has now submitted a proposal to the National Medical Commission (NMC) seeking permission for three new medical colleges - two government colleges in Ramanagara and Kanakapura and a private medical college by Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences in Nelamangala, of 150-seat capacity each. 

Political backdrop

The State government’s earlier decision to shift Kengal Hanumanthaiah Medical College from the proposed RGUHS campus in Ramanagara to Kanakapura had drawn the ire of locals in Kanakapura. Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also jumped into the fray. H.D. Kumaraswamy had come down heavily on the government’s move and there were several protests held including a Ramanagara bandh in September, 2023, over the issue. 

This move by the State government and Mr. Shivakumar’s later statements that Kanakapura belonged to Bengaluru and a proposal to rename Ramanagara district as Bengaluru South district, had the potential to create dissatisfaction against the ruling party in Ramanagara district, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls later this year, sources said. 

Probably prompted by this, the State government has now decided not to shift Kengal Hanumanthaiah Medical College from RGUHS campus in Ramanagara. Instead, the government has decided to open a new government medical college in Kanakapura attached to the taluk hospital. 

“The proposed government medical colleges in Ramanagara and Kanakapura will be established, attached with the district and taluk hospitals in the respective cities,” said B.L. Sujatha Rathod, Director, Directorate of Medical Education. 

450 additional seats 

The State presently has 70 medical colleges, both government and private, totalling to 11,745 medical seats. If the NMC permits the State to start these three medical colleges, Karnataka will add 450 seats and the total number of medical seats here will go up to 12,195. 

In 2023, NMC had proposed a moratorium on new medical colleges based on the ratio of medical colleges to the population. Facing strong opposition from southern States, including Karnataka, NMC deferred the implementation of this decision by two years, in November 2023. Following this, the State government has now submitted a proposal for three new medical colleges. 

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