Controversy: Former Kerala Health Minister faces allegations of providing essentiality certificate to medical college without proper inspection

Kozhikode: Controversy has erupted over the reports alleging the involvement of former Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja for renewing the Essentiality Certificate to a private medical college at Cherpulasseri in Palakkad district without proper inspection.

The allegations in this regard has come up on the basis of a government document that claimed that Minister Shailaja had went out of the way to renew the certificate. This comes after recently the Supreme Court, while considering a plea in this regard, had sought an explanation from the State, adds Onmanorama.

Shailaja, a member of the Communist Party of India, had served as the State Health Minister for Kerala in the first Pinarayi Vijayan State Government (2016-21).

Back in 2018, while inspecting the concerned private medical college, the Indian Medical Council and Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) had found that the college did not have the basic infrastructural facilities. Thereafter, around 149 students belonging to the college had been transderring to nine private medical colleges of the State.

Apart from this, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry had also put a bar on MBBS admission at the college for the next two years. After the ban period ended in 2020, the college made an application to the Health Department seeking an Essentiality Certificate for resuming the course.

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As per the latest media report by Onmanorama, even though the officials in its report on May 28 had referred to inadequate infrastructure and advised againt granting the sanction, the former Health Minister allegedly directed “measures to re-validate the Essentiality Certificate considering the present special circumstances” and returned the file. On the basis of this, a draft of the certificate also had been prepared.

The daily further adds that the officials at that time had referred to the fact that the college was yet to refund around Rs 1 crore collected from the students towards fees. They had also informed that the admission and the Fee Regulatory Committee had begun the measures for recovering the revenue considering the college’s failure to refund the amount.

In this regard, the government document further revealed that the then-Health Principal Secretary Rajan Khobragade had mentioned in the file that the college may first be asked to refund the fees and on the basis of the compliance report, further actions could be initiated. However, allegedly the former Health Minister had issued directions to the officials for providing the Essentiality Certificate while considering the limited time frame. She had allegedly said that other measures could be initiated later.

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