PMCH turns 96: Foundation day function to be curtailed due to COVID norms

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Patna, Feb 23 (PTI) The historic PMCH, founded as the Prince of Wales Medical College, will turn 96 on Thursday but its birth anniversary celebrations this year will be heavily curtailed due to the COVID-19 safety norms, officials said.

Former Union minister C P Thakur and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey are slated to attend the function as the main dignitaries at the event, which otherwise happens on a large-scale on February 25 annually.

'The event will be heavily curtailed this year due to the COVID-19 safety norms in place. So, the foundation day event will be a very short programme this year. Every year, a large number of alumni from across the country and abroad also gather for it and celebrate it in a big way. This time, no alumni meet will take place,' PMCH Principal V P Choudhary told PTI.

After flag-hoisting in front of the Administration Block, there will be a very simple event hosted in the auditorium of the Rajendra Surgical Block.

'Students from different departments and different years will be awarded gold medals during the event at the RSB Auditorium,' Choudhary said.

The foundation day celebrations this year also assumes significance as heritage buildings of the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) are planned to be demolished in three phases as part of a major redevelopment project, whose foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on February 8 in the campus.

The move has hurt the sentiments of various alumni members and the PMCH Alumni Association has pleaded with the Bihar government to spare the demolition of at least 'two of its most historic buildings' associated with the genesis of Bihar and Orissa's first medical college, for posterity.

It had recently appealed to preserve and restore Administrative Building, which houses the Principal's Office; and the old Bankipore General Hospital Building, which houses the Hathwa Ward and the old operation theatre.

The association, whose members are spread globally, have asserted that medical infrastructure can be upgraded through 'other reasonable measures'.

PMCH Alumni Association president, Dr Satyajeet Kumar Singh, said, 'All historic institutions across the world, while moving forward, endeavour to preserve their heritage for the posterity.' 'We hope our appeal to preserve at least two of these key landmark buildings in the campus will be heard sympathetically,' he said.

The then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, had visited Patna in December 1921 as part of his royal tour of India and Bihar and Orissa's first medical college was named after him to commemorate his visit to what was then a young provincial capital.

The institution, originally christened as the Prince of Wales Medical College, was established four years later in 1925. It was renamed to PMCH, a few decades after the Independence.

The Administration Block houses the Principal's Office and the wall outside its chamber bears the historic plaque telling the story of the college's inception, and carries the names of the main donors too.

The huge marble plaque, bearing the old name of the college and the Prince of Wales' royal crest, reads that it was established in 1925 and formally inaugurated by the then Lt Governor of Bihar and Orissa Sir Henry Wheeler on February 25, 1927. PTI KND KJ