Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): More than a month after counselling for students who will purse medical course under Mizoram state quota was cancelled due to protest from student body, the state government today resumed the counselling at the technical wing office of state Higher and Technical Education Department.
With the recent reduction in seat allocation by the central government, counseling was held for 17 seats in MBBS and 8 seats in Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).
At least hundred student were called for counselling and allotment was given to 17 students for MBBS and 5 for BDS, while counselling for 3 BDS seats would be conducted on next Monday.
However, four Chakma students who have qualified in National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) and attended the counselling on 19 and 20 July did not turn up for today counselling purportedly for fear of untoward incident.
About hundred of Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) activists also picketed the Higher and Technical Education Department technical wing office to prevent Chakma students from attending the counselling . They were, however, dispersed as no Chakma students have turned up and the counselling was held for Zo ethnic students only.
Sources said that the four Chakma students were present in Aizawl to attend the counselling . But they were neither informed by the officials nor were provided security arrangement to attend the counselling.
Speaking at the beginning of the counselling, Higher and Technical Education Secretary Benjamin said the government has finally decided to reserve category-I for only Zo ethnic people after collecting public opinion.
He said that Ministry of Health & Family Welfare declared medical seat allotment for Mizoram on 18 August accordingly which it was reduced from 27 to 17.
He added that as per the central government guidelines, allotment was made based on the number of population accordingly which 1 lakh population is said to enjoy 2.5 seats.
With Mizoram having not more than 11 lakh population, the seat allocation has to be reduced to 17 as per the central guidelines, he said.
The secretary, however, said that he along with Higher & Technical Education Minister R. Romawia met the central leadership and asked them to increase allotment as Mizoram could not be compared with other states as it follow family planning which is the reason for its thin population.
During the meeting with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare secretary CK Mishra, Benjamin had also asked the former to increase medical seat allotment for Mizoram from central pool due to acute shortage of doctor in the state.
“The secretary promised us to give four additional BDS seats and the central government would also find possibility to increase medical seat for Mizoram,” Benjamin said.
Mizoram medical quota became a serious issue after four Chakma students who qualified in NEET were selected and included in category-I to pursue MBBS under state quota. The government was forced to cancel the counselling held on 19 and 20 July due to stiff protest from MZP.
The MZP is of the view that Chakmas are foreigners and they have no right to enjoy equal status with domicile citizens or native Zo people under category-I. The gravity of the issue became more intense with the resignation of a minister over the alleged racial discrimination. Protesting against the denial of medical seat to four Chakma students, the lone Chakma minister Dr. BD Chakma had resigned on 21 August.