Dr Govinda KC launches 13th hunger strike

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 6, 2017-

Dr Govinda KC began his 13th fast-unto-death on Thursday demanding that the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill be endorsed immediately keeping the recommendations made by a team of experts intact.

The orthopaedic surgeon’s 13th hunger strike in the last five years comes days after he “postponed” his 12th fast-unto-death which he launched on September 25 amid talks that parliamentarians were planning to rush through the HPE Bill with some amendments that would have benefited a handful of health institutions, particularly those which are backed by members of some political parties. He, however, had said that he would launch the next round of hunger strike from October 5. 

“My demands remain the same. The HPE Bill should be endorsed with amendments that are ‘pro-citizen’ and ‘pro-student’; it should not be ‘pro-mafia’,” said Dr KC at a press conference organised to announce his 13th hunger strike on Thursday. 

After “postponing” his 12th hunger strike on September 27, Dr KC on September 29 had met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and submitted a 17-point memorandum, suggesting amendments to the HPE Bill. A major point of the memorandum is a 10-year moratorium on establishing new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley, something Dr KC has been demanding for long. 

It must be noted that a team of experts led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University, had recommended a 10-year moratorium on establishing new medical colleges in the Valley. The original HPE Bill also had a provision for that. But under pressure from some lawmakers, particularly those from the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) who have stakes in some medical schools, a House committee had inserted a new clause as per which the facilities that had already obtained the letters of intent and built infrastructure would get affiliation for running the MBBS course. This would have favoured facilities like Manamohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences and B&C Hospital among others which are backed by UML and Maoist leaders. 

There were talks that parliamentarians were planning to endorse the HPE Bill with those amendments before Dashain, which prompted Dr KC to launch his 12th hunger strike. 

Dr KC’s 13th hunger strike announcement on Thursday comes just a day before Parliament convenes after Dashain holidays. 

He had broken his 11th fast-unto-death after 23 days on August 15.

 

 

Demands

  • Endorsement of the HPE Bill with the provisions recommended by a team of experts
  • Removal of Dr Rajendra Koju as the dean of School of Medical Sciences of Kathmandu University
  • Revocation of a KU decision to charge Rs 5 million for MBBS course, which is higher than the government-prescribed fee
  • Investigation into the embezzlement of billions of rupees by Gopal Bahadur Khadka, the sacked chief of Nepal Oil Corporation
  • Allocation of necessary budget to run academic programmes in the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Jumla 

Published: 06-10-2017 07:36

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