The building design for DG Khan Medical College (DGKMC) has been rejected for a third time on technical grounds as it does not match the design of a private schools designated as a model by the chief minister, The Express Tribune has learnt.
DGKMC was opened last year but without a building and its 100 first-year students are currently studying at Quaid-i-Azam Medical College (QMC) in Bahwalpur. Officials said that the DGKMC students would suffer if they did not get their own school, while the QMC had overcrowding problems.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced the establishment of four new medical colleges last year, at DG Khan, Sahiwal, Gujranwala and Sialkot. The three other colleges started their first year in rented buildings. The chief minister set up a steering committee under PML-Nawaz MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif to choose a good design for the colleges, according to the minutes of meetings chaired by the chief minister.
Sources in the Health Department said that the department had presented the PC1 for the DG Khan school to the Planning and Development Board chairman at three meetings one in August and on September 24 and September 27 – and been asked each time to redo it using the Shalimar Medical College (SMC) as the model. SMC is a private school that opened recently in Lahore.
Usman Moazzam, the additional secretary for development at the Health Department, confirmed that officials had been asked to prepare a design modelled on SMC. He said that according to Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) rules, private medical colleges must be located on at least four kanals and be centrally air conditioned. The rejected PC1 for DGKMC envisaged an academic block in the DG Khan District Headquarters Hospital and two hostels. It also recommended the acquisition of 36 acres of state land next to the college. The PC1 was budgeted at Rs2 billion.
Moazzam said that it was important that public colleges had extra room in which to expand as their capacity would likely have to be increased in future. He said private schools had different needs and should not be compared to public colleges.
He said that the department was comparing the DGKMC PC1 with the SMC design and would make another presentation to the Planning and Development Board at its next meeting on October 8. He said the DGKMC design would be the model for the other three colleges.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2011.