Supporters press government to honour deals with KC

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Jan 20, 2019-

Disappointed and frustrated, supporters of the fasting Dr Govinda KC, through a mass-protest at Maitighar Mandala, on Saturday, demanded that the government implement the agreement that had been signed last year while ending the surgeon’s 27-day-long 15th hunger strike.

“I feel humiliated to come to Maitighar Mandala again, to shout as loud as I can to make sure that the government hears my voice and awakens to the responsibility it has of implementing the legitimate demands of KC, demands that the government had agreed to implement last year,” said Bhawana Raut, a supporter of KC.

More than a hundred supporters of KC had gathered at the mass-protest organised by the Solidarity for Dr KC Alliance in Maitighar Mandala, on Saturday. The protestors had then marched towards New Baneshwor chanting: “KC is not alone, we all are with him.” Supporters also shouted slogans such as “Majority by public, benefit for mafias”, “It is clear everywhere, majority party is corrupted” and “Experts report neglected, mafias benefit amended”.

The July 26 agreement between KC and the government, which was signed last year, largely expected the government to endorse the Medical Education Bill through Parliament, incorporating all the recommendations a panel formed under Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University, had made. The endorsement of the bill had been highly assured by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli as well.

However, despite the agreement being signed by their own government and their party co-chairman Oli, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmakers amended the provision after nearly four months. After seeing the deal falling apart,  KC then started his 16th hunger strike from January 9.

Speaking at the House on Friday, Prime Minister Oli said that he could not do anything regarding the bill now, as it has already been tabled and he has no authority to order lawmakers in the Parliament. General public present at the protest however said that Oli could have done a lot while the bill was being discussed at the Parliamentary committee and sub-committee.

“We have a Prime Minister and a chairman of the ruling party who cannot order lawmakers to endorse a bill as per the agreements he himself made. It seems he has lost his credibility even within his own political party,” said advocate Dinesh Tripathi. “We have a Prime Minister who can’t implement an agreement he made in a public domain running our country.”

The changes in the bill will directly benefit the Jhapa-based B&C Medical College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre. Supporters of KC have time and again pressed that Oli has remained quiet on the matter due to his personal relations. Just days prior to KC starting his 15th hunger strike, a picture of Oli and co-chairman of NCP Pushpa Kamal Dahal having ‘marci’ rice with the executive director of B&C hospital Durga Prasad Prasai went viral on social media and was received with wide criticism.

Speaking to the Post on Thursday, NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai said that they would not negotiate the amendments they have made in the bill, as it has already been tabled at the House and is only left to be passed.

Bhattarai, whose constituency is Taplejung, the neighbouring district of Ilam, has been said to have played a major role in amending the provisions of the bill for the benefit of medical mafias.

“KC has demanded the government to establish a government medical college in either Ilam or Panchthar. But the elected leaders of nearby areas want to provide affiliation to private medical colleges only,” said Pritam Subedi, a member of the Dr KC Alliance.

There is a severe lack of proper medical colleges in Ilam. And it is because of this lack of proper medical facilities in Ilam that doctors recommended KC be transferred to Kathmandu for treatment.

“The district hospital of Ilam doesn’t even have an oxygen cylinder,” said Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, a member of KC’s talks team. “Despite such problems in the health sector is Ilam, the leaders of the area and nearby areas are working to establish private medical colleges in other places.”

KC has been staging his 16th hunger strike for the past 11 days now, but no process of holding talks with him has been initiated by the government. The Prime Minister is instead leaving for Switzerland to attend a programme of the World Economic Forum on Sunday.

Published: 20-01-2019 08:10

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