PM steps in to address demands

  • - Chief secy, NPC vice-chair assigned to work out a deal - Docs assured low fees, med colleges in rural areas
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
PM steps in to address demands

Mar 30, 2015-

Amid criticisms from several quarters, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has stepped in to address the demands put forth by Dr Govinda KC, whose fast seeking reforms in medical education entered the ninth day on Monday.

PM Koirala who has been criticised for showing “indifference” to Dr KC’s demands, held three separate meetings on the day to find a way to resolve the crisis. “Several rounds of formal and informal talks were held between Dr KC’s supporters and government representatives,” PM’s Press Coordinator Prakash Adhikari said.

With Dr KC’s health worsening and increasing pressure from the medical fraternity, Koirala was forced to intensify consultations to end the row. According to the Prime Ministers’ Office, he held discussions with his Cabinet colleagues Ram Sharan Mahat and Mahesh Acharya.

He later sat with the representatives of Nepal Medical Council and Nepal Medical Association (NMA) where National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice-chairman Govinda Pokhrel and Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal were present. A team of doctors led by Dr Yogendra Prasad Singh attended the talks.

The meetings, according to PMO sources, discussed the ways to address the demands. “PM Koirala has instructed officials to immediately decide ways to address the demands and to end Dr KC’s hunger strike,” said the PMO official.

NMA General Secretary Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha said the meeting with the PM on Monday morning was inconclusive.

A team of senior officials and representatives from the medical fraternity was tasked with finding a solution. The PM assigned Pokhrel and Paudyal to find a way out after Dr KC refused to talk to Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav and Health Minister Khagaraj Adhikari, said sources. In a meeting in the evening, Chief Secretary Paudyal and NPC Vice-chair Pokhrel assured the agitating doctors of initiating the process to keep fees minimal in medical studies while beginning the process to establish medical education in rural parts of the country.

“Paudyal assured of discussing the other demands only after consulting the prime minister again,” said Dr Ram Chandra Sapkota, president of the Nepal Resident Doctors Association at the Institute of Medicine.

Talks between the agitating doctors and government representatives including Health Minister Adhikari failed on Sunday as the government side had not done the required homework to address the demands.

“It was difficult for us to give assurance of the resignation of education minister, office bearers of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University and Nepal Medical Council as demanded by Dr KC.

Since these demands are political in nature, they should be addressed by the political leadership,” said an official involved in talks. The PM is said to have discussed the issues on Monday.

Dr KC says the Education Ministry, TU officials and the NMC granted permissions to medical colleges to run MBBS programmes without ensuring proper infrastructure and trained human resource.

The government also promised to publicise soon the report of the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led panel that was assigned to study the pros and cons of medial affiliations and other related issues.

During Dr KC’s earlier fasts, PM Koirala had vowed to fulfil his demands including withholding affiliations to new medical colleges. Reneging on his promise, the prime minister recently issued a directive to hand out affiliations to some medical colleges.

Published: 31-03-2015 09:07

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