Gagan Thapa urges government to address demands of Dr KC

- Sanjaya Lama, Kathmandu

Jan 17, 2019-

Nepali Congress leader Gagan Thapa has urged the government to address the demands of Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging an indefinite hunger strike in Ilam, without any condition.

At a press conference organised in Kathmandu on Thursday, Thapa said the health of Dr KC is deteriorating further, and urged Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to address his demands by amending the Medical Education Bill as per the agreement signed with him earlier.

“Don’t make this issue a matter of pride; this is not the agenda of any political party. Saving the life of Dr KC is necessary for national honour as well,” lawmaker Thapa said, adding, “I urge the Prime Minister to resolve the issue without having any prejudice by amending the Bill as per the agreement signed with Dr KC earlier.”

As the health of Dr KC, who has been staging hunger strike since January 9, is deteriorating further, Thapa warned that anything untoward may happen and it can be a matter of disgrace for the nation.

Saying that many people have been accusing Dr KC of compelling thousands of students to go abroad to pursue higher studies in medical science by refusing to give nod to open more medical colleges in the country, Thapa said the statistics of the Nepal Medical Council showed that 1,378 students had gone to various foreign countries for medical courses in 2014, and 1461 in 2015.

“The data shows that the number had decreased to 478 in 2016, and 495 in 2017,” he said. “The main reason behind the sharp decline in number in 2016 is the introduction of provision for entrance exam in Nepal to acquire eligibility certificate before heading to foreign countries. The provision was brought with an intense struggle of Dr KC.”

He said Nepali students were allowed to go abroad without taking eligibility certificate only a few years ago. The students aspiring to go abroad for medical courses had decreased due to this provision, he said.

Another accusation leveled against him was advocating for old medical colleges, he said.

Before Dr KC started hunger strike demanding reforms in medical sector, almost all the medical colleges were teaching students beyond their capacity, he said. “Now the maximum seats in a college 100,” he added. “As the number of seats has decreased by 50, it is pointless to say that Dr KC is supporting the operators of the colleges,” he said.

Leader Thapa expressed his dissatisfaction over the remarks that Dr KC is against Nepal Communist Party and supporter of Nepali Congress.

He recalled that Dr KC had never thought about whose party was leading the government when he resorted to his hunger strike. “Does it mean to be anti-Communist to fight for the people’s health?”

He said the statistics showed that among the 16 hunger strikes, he staged fast-unto-death for seven times during the Nepali Congress-led government. Thapa said that the anti-corruption crusader stood against political parties, court and Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority among other institutions when they were trying to destroy the medical sector.

“It is the matter of shame that Dr KC had to stage hunger strike time and again. Dr KC is a saint. He [Dr KC] doesn’t have any selfish interests,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the main opposition Nepali Congress had drawn the government’s attention to the demands of Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging his 16th hunger strike in Ilam, at the earliest.

Dr KC has been staging an indefinite hunger strike in Ilam since January 9. KC resorted to the move after the Education and Health Committee of Parliament endorsed the report on the bill going against the agreement signed with him.

Earlier in June, KC had begun his 15th hunger strike at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences in Jumla. He was later brought to Kathmandu after his condition worsened.




Published: 17-01-2019 18:56

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