Volume 4 Issue 16 - August 15, 2006

Disabled tribal girl denied medical seat

D.N.I.S. News Network – What polio could not do, the Veer Surendra Sai (V.S.S.) Medical College authorities have managed to do – shatter the spirits of a disabled tribal girl, Susmita Horo. The student was denied admission to M.B.B.S. course by the medical college in Burla, on grounds that she was disabled beyond the accepted norm.

A tribal from Sambalpur, Susmita’s dream was to become a doctor. She even got through the medical entrance exam, but her hopes were dashed when the medical college denied her a seat in the institution. The reason: She is disabled beyond the cut-off of 70 per cent disability. The irony: The Chief Medical District Officer of Sambalpur, after conducting a disability test earlier, had given her a certificate of 65 per cent.

Susmita’s question: “About two months ago, I had appeared before the Medical Board and the Chief Medical District Officer of Sambalpur to get a disability certificate. The tests revealed 65 per cent disability. How can the percentage change so much?” She was quoted as saying, “This is injustice, and I will certainly move the court.”

Susmita is a bright student having scored 89 per cent and 80 per cent marks in Class X and Class XII (Science) exams respectively. Further, she stood second in the Scheduled Tribe category and seventh in the disabled category in the Joint Entrance Examination held by the Orissa Government.

The V.S.S. Medical College authorities sent her for a medical check up. Unfortunately, she reported 87 per cent disability and the college denied her admission. V.S.S. Medical College Principal J.K. Balabantaray said, “I am not aware of her earlier disability certificate and the percentage given by the Medical Board. We sent her for a check up according to the rules. Since the report suggested that her disability percentage was above the accepted norm of 70 per cent, we could do nothing.”

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