Days after the government announced that it has initiated the process to set-up the first medical university in Jammu and Kashmir, medical professionals in the Valley are keeping their fingers crossed over the location of the proposed varsity.
The government has so far maintained a silence over where the medical university would be set-up, raising concerns and anxiety among the medical professionals in Kashmir.
An official said that in 2015, the government had decided that two medical universities would be set up, one each in Kashmir and Jammu. This time however there is a talk of setting up only one such university.
According to a source, anger is brewing in the medical faculty and doctors across Kashmir over "exclusion" of experts from the Valley in the process related to establishment of the medical university.
A source in the health and medical education department said that while the bill is being drafted with "inputs and ideas" from representatives of health institutions and departments from Jammu, no official from Kashmir has been included in the process.
Earlier this month, when the minister for health and medical education (H&ME) Bali Bhagat convened a meeting to discuss the "way forward" for the proposed J&K medical university, doctors from Kashmir were surprised to note that that no representatives from government medical college Srinagar, government dental college Srinagar, Sher-e-Kashmir institute of medical sciences Soura or SKIMS medical college Srinagar were part of the process, even though there were officials even from government dental college Jammu.
As per the source, the government also constituted a committee for drafting the bill and it comprised additional secretary H&ME Naseer Wani, Dr Yashpal Sharma, registrar GMC Jammu, a representative of principal GMC Jammu, a member to be nominated by vice-chancellor, Jammu University and a retired principal.
Doctors in Kashmir medical colleges termed the "explicit exclusion" of experts and doctors from the Valley in the entire process as "foundation to make the university Jammu-centric."
The source in the H&ME department said that Yashpal Sharma had written to medical colleges of Kashmir to seek details of their requirements vis-à-vis medical university.
"The idea of the university seems to have been completely hijacked," said the source.
"In 2011, when GMC Srinagar was celebrating its golden jubilee, the idea of medical university was floated by then principal of the college Dr Shahida Mir before then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah," a senior faculty member at GMC Srinagar said.
He said that at that time, a proposal had also been sought from the GMC.
A senior faculty member from government dental college Srinagar said that in December 2015, then Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had sought proposals for setting up two medical universities in the state. The bill for the same was planned to be tabled in the Assembly subsequently.
"However, the plan did not materialise," the faculty member said.