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Two more dental colleges in the offing

GUWAHATI, May 21: Assam is on its way to becoming self-sufficient in dealing with teeth woes and producing more Bachelors of Dental Surgeons (BDS) for other States and abroad as well with the Dental Council of India (DCI) approving the setting up of two more dental colleges in the State, besides the existing one.

Sharing this with the media on Monday, State Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “The existing Guwahati Regional Dental College (GRDC) is not a State college in the true sense. It was set up with funds from the NEC. However, the two new dental colleges that we’re going to set up now – one each at Dibrugarh and Silchar – will be State colleges. While the GRDC has 100 seats, the two new colleges will have 50 seats each. Enrollment in these two dental colleges (BDS) is to start from this academic session, along with MBBS.” The minister further said: “Under Tata Trust-Government of Assam Joint Venture, the foundation stones of 19 cancer hospitals will be laid simultaneously in the State on June 17 in the presence of Ratan Tata. Thirteen sites that have already been identified for the purpose are being developed. The Assam Cancer Care Foundation being headed by the State Health Minister has a tie-up with Tata Trust in this connection. Tata Trust is represented by noted oncologist Dr Tapan Saikia. Initially the State Government and Tata Trust have to invest Rs 1,000 crore each for the venture, which will start functioning after a gestation period of two years in phases.”

On the cashless health scheme launched under Atal Amrit Yojona (AAY) recently, thought to be a milestone achieved in the State, Sarma said as many as 1,120 people have availed of the facility in just one month in various hospitals through AAY health cards in the State.

“Rs 25 lakh has been released for this scheme in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and Rs 15 lakh each in other medical colleges and hospitals in the State. A person with AAY card can get treatment for certain diseases free of cost up to Rs 2 lakh,” Sarma said, and added: “Already 1.5 crore people in the State have been enrolled under this scheme.”

On the Ayushman Bharat Yojana (ABY), Sarma said: “The State Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of India on this scheme. This scheme is going to cover 27 lakh BPL families in the State. Each family can get treatment of any disease up to Rs 5 lakh under this scheme.”

On other issues, Sarma said that now on job seekers would not have to pay application fees for third-grade and fourth-grade posts in the State. “Candidates applying for Grade I and II posts will have to pay application fees. The upper age limit of job seekers for third- and fourth-grade posts has been raised up to 44 years.”

On the education front, the minister said: “There are 7,000 contractual teachers in high schools in the State. They’ll get Rs 20,000 per month against Rs 15,000 per month they’re getting now.”