As Government Medical College, Miraj, previously known as Miraj Medical College successfully completes 52 years, it may be difficult for visualize the early days when this medical college was almost literally started on a shoestring !
Since the times as a provincial state in the pre-independent era, Miraj boasted of good quality medical care. Dr.Gopalrao Govindrao Watwe was the first Indian doctor in Miraj. With his help, In 1864 his Highness Shrimant Patwardhan started first Government Hospital in Miraj.
In 1892, Sir William Wanless established various health care institutes in Miraj. Most prominent among these is the Wanless Hospital including the Pharmacy College.
Early in 1961, under the leadership of Shri. Vasantrao (Dada) Patil, (then the M.L.A.) a Provisional Medical college committee was formed in Sangli with a view to promote the development of new Government medical college in this southern part of Maharashtra state. This committee approached the authorities of the Wanless Hospital, Miraj – a private Christian hospital – to enter into an agreement to serve as a teaching hospital for the proposed new Govt. medical college. This was a bold departure, in the interest of patient care, from the traditional patterns- a Government Medical college with a single private hospital as the teaching hospital of the college.
The Board of Administration of the Miraj Medical Centre, while specifying certain conditions to safeguard the autonomy and integrity of their institution responded to it positively. Government also moved promptly and positively by appointing a committee in September 1961, consisting of two representatives of government, namely ShriMahavRajwade (Secretary – U.D. & P.H. Deptt.) And Dr. P. N. Bhandarkar- (Surgeon General), two representatives of Miraj Medical Centre (Dr. J. G. David and Dr. A. G. Fletcher ) and Shri. VasantraoPatil -M.L.A, for the purpose of working out the specific terms and conditions under which the proposed medical college could function in collaboration with Miraj Medical Centre.
Under the able chairmanship of Shri. Rajwade, the committee finished its work in five meetings between 7th October 1961 and 15th March 1962 and submitted their report on 16th April 1962. Government accepted the proposal and appointed Dr. B. B. Sethana as the first principle of the college.
The college was formally opened on 31st July 1962 at 11 am at the hands of Hon’bleShri. Y. B. Chavan, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and then the Defence Minister of India, who had been encouraging this project from its inception.
The gestation period of this college was a physiological nine months (May we say that it reflects the humane element inherited by this institute!), from its conception at the first meeting of the committee in October 1961 until its birth at the inauguration in July 1962.
The college started with 30 students in the two old buildings of the former Miraj Christian Medical School, which are occupied today by the Institute of Pharmacy. The building had to be cleaned out, renovated, re-modelled and fitted up with the equipment brought from the colleges of Poona and Bombay. There were no residential arrangements for the teachers or the students. The teachers were put up in the Government Guest House, located just beyond the present Medical College campus. The lady students stayed in the Hindu Dharmashala at Gandhi Chowk and the male students had to find rooms nearby in the town. Those first days were indeed difficult in many ways, but they were also exciting and rewarding, as the students and teachers joined together with enthusiasm to make a success of this new medical college.
The present land was acquired on NimjagaMaal(FashichaMaal) to build Medical College Building. Local eminent residents likeDr. N. R. Pathak, Barrister G. D. Patil, Mr.VenkatraoPawar, Mr.Vivaje, Mr.Malawade, Comred.Verma and Mr.Jadhav played a major role in land acquisition.
On Sunday, 18th November 1962 the foundation stone was laid by the then President of India Hon’bleDr. S. Radhakrishanan in Physiology.
The construction of the buildings for pre-clinical and para-clinical departments was started by government on the new college campus. Departments Anatomy and Physiology were amongst the initial Buildings to be constructed.
Clinical and para-clinical teachers fulfilling the requirements of the university norms were appointed at Wanless Hospital in time for the commencement of clinical teaching of the 2nd M.B.B.S. students in October 1963. From June 1963 the Miraj Medical College was transferred from the jurisdiction of Poona University to the new Shivaji University, which approved the para-clinical and clinical departments for teaching of the 2nd and 3rd M.B.B.S.
Here, another unique and noteworthy point is that, the Medical College came into existence first at Mirajand itsparent University (Shivaji University, Kolhapur) came in to existence later on.
Soon it was time for the batch of the students to appear for the 3rd M.B.B.S. examination in October 1966 and Miraj Medical College delivered its first batch of M.B.B.S. graduates, who started their internship in 1967 through the department of Preventive & Social Medicine.
Further advances followed in rapid succession. The number of admissions was increased to 60 in 1964, then to 80 in 1970 and finally to 100 in 1975, with the opening of additional teaching units in the General Hospital, Sangli in 1972. The post-graduate courses of M.D. and M.S. in various subjects were started in 1972. Since 1980, the General Hospital, Sangli is under the administrative control of the Dean.
The Government Medical College, Miraj is spread over nearly 34.3 acres of area. The blocks of Anatomy and Physiology Departments were erected on the barren outskirts of Miraj. They were put into use from June, 1964. The old building of Medical College consisting of one Lecture hall and two laboratory halls were then utilized for the para-clinical departments. The buildings of the Departments of Pharmacology, Preventive and Social Medicine and Pathology were constructed in 1969. Later,the Canteen and College Office (at present Microbiology and Biochemistry departments) started functioning from 1972. Staff quarters and Old boys’ Hostel were subsequently constructed. Gymkhana, Ladies Hostel, Library, New Boys’ Hostel and more staff quarters were constructed under the crash programme in 1982.
The functioning of Rural Health & Training Center, Tasgaon started under Government Medical College, Miraj, in collaboration with the Municipal council of Tasgaon – a developing township,25 kms from Miraj, on 1st April 1967,where Interns are posted for rural internship to orient them to the rural medical practice. The Urban Health Center is also serving to a large sector of community in Mirajsince 1978.
The plan of a hospital in the campus of the college was accepted by the Government and as a first step, 200-beded hospital was approved during 1981. The construction was completed and the Hospital Complex was inaugurated on 12th November 1994 by Hon’bleShri. SharadPawar, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Since then, the Government Medical College Hospital, Miraj and the P.V.P. Government hospital, Sangli is catering to the health needs of a large population of urban and rural areas. At preset the Hospital at Miraj has In-patient strength of 320 beds and the Hospital at Sangli has In-patient strength of 380 beds. Both these hospitals have all clinical and para-clinical departments and well-equipped O.T. Complexes.
In 2013, the college reached one more milestone. The admission capacity is raised from 100 to 150 students.
The college which proudly boasts of its glorious past is now looking towards the wonderful future.