Parties agree to endorse HPE Bill in a week

  • Concerns remain if it will be passed as demanded by Dr KC who has been on hunger strike for last 12 days
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 5, 2017-Top leaders of major parties on Friday agreed to endorse the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill, which is in Parliament since September last year, within a week.

Endorsing the HPE Bill is a key demand of Dr Govinda KC who has been staging a fast-unto-death for the last 12 days. 

The meeting, called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, also decided to urge Dr KC to call off his hunger strike. 

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal were also present in the meeting. 

The top leaders of major parties have also requested the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Social Welfare and Elderly Citizens to finalise the bill as soon as possible and present it before the House for endorsement.

As many as 54 lawmakers have registered a total of 276 proposals seeking amendments to 51 clauses of the HPE Bill. 

One of the provisions of the HPE Bill calls for putting a 10-year moratorium on establishing medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley. Majority of lawmakers, particularly from the UML, have taken serious exception to this provision and called for its annulment. They are also against a provision which requires a hospital to run a 300-bed facility to qualify for running a medical school.

Dr KC has been demanding endorsement of the HPE Bill as per the spirit of the recommendations made by a panel led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor at Tribhuvan University.

Friday’s meeting, however, could not reach a decision on endorsing the bill without amendments, saying “how a bill is endorsed is strictly Parliament’s prerogative and that nobody can dictate the sovereign body”. 

Former education minister Dhani Ram Poudel, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Social Welfare and Elderly Citizens, told the Post that there has been an informal agreement in the House committee to endorse the Bill by Wednesday. 

The House panel is planning to complete compiling the amendments and finalise the bill by Monday so as to send it to Parliament for endorsement by Wednesday. 

“There was no agreement on the content(s) of the bill as only the Legislature-Parliament bears the authority to decide on the matter,” said Poudel who was also present at Friday’s meeting. 

During the meeting, some leaders, mainly from the UML, had argued that the House should be allowed to take decisions on issues like 10-year moratorium among others. 

“We have to be flexible while addressing the concerns of Dr KC. However, no one can dictate the House on how it should move ahead while endorsing a bill,” a participant quoted UML Chair Oli as saying during the meeting. 

Majority of leaders from all the parties agreed to Oli’s argument, he said. 

With leaders still hemming and hawing over various provisions of the bill, concerns remain whether it will be endorsed in line with Dr KC’s demands. 

Dr KC, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, staged his first hunger strike in 2012 demanding reforms in the medical education sector. During his 10 hunger strikes, various agreements were reached by different governments, which have invariably failed to fulfil their commitments, prompting Dr KC to launch his 11th fast-unto-death that he started on July 31. Dr KC had been on hunger strike for a total of 119 days until his 10th fast-unto-death which he called off on December 4 last year.

Save fasting doc’s life: NHRC

KATHMANDU: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on Friday that it has written to the government and the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers to save the life of Dr Govinda KC who has been on a hunger strike for the last 12 days demanding reforms in the medical education sector. In a statement on Friday, the national rights watchdog also urged the government to fulfil the earlier agreements that it had reached with Dr KC so as not to let a situation arise wherein Dr KC has to stage hunger strikes again and again with the same demands. 

Published: 05-08-2017 07:03

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