Protest debated in House

Lawmakers from the ruling party claim that the NC did not address Dr KC’s concerns while in power and now its leaders are politicising his hunger strike

Jul 10, 2018-The House of Representatives on Monday made Dr Govinda KC’s indefinite hunger strike the proposal of urgent public importance with the opposition pressing the government to hear his concerns. Dr KC is on a civic disobedience demanding a health education Act in line with the recommendations of the commission led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, a former vice-chancellor of the Tribhuvan University.

The Mathema panel had suggested imposing a 10-year moratorium on new medical schools in Kathmandu Valley and requiring such schools to have a hospital operational for at least three years for running medical courses.

An ordinance that addressed these concerns expired on July 4. The government has registered a health education bill altering several of the provisions. Dr KC and the Nepali Congress read the move as a ploy to grant affiliations to the medical colleges run by members of the ruling party.

Opposing the move, NC lawmakers Dilendra Prasad Badu, Azhar Kamal Musalman and Parvati DC Chaudhary registered the proposal on Friday and had demanded discussion on it the same day. The proposal concerned issues related to the agitation of Dr KC, who has been on an indefinite hunger strike since Saturday in Jumla, and discussion of the Medical Education Bill.

The ruling party’s reluctance to discuss the matter prompted the NC to obstruct the House. The NC agreed to allow the House business after Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara promised discussion on the proposal. Presenting the proposal for discussion, Badu argued that Dr KC’s demands were genuine and that the government was trying to commercialise medical education to serve the interest of a few people. Some 15 lawmakers from different parties argued on the issue.

“I ask Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to give up his arrogance of two-thirds majority and address the genuine concerns of Dr KC,” said NC lawmaker Gagan Thapa. Other Congress MPs also slammed the government for not paying heed to the fasting surgeon’s worsening health condition.

Members of Parliament from the ruling party claimed that the NC, which did not address Dr KC’s concerns while in power, was doing politics in his name now. They charged the Congress with starting privatisation of the medical sector and leaving it unregulated.

“It’s a shame that the NC, which signed the highest number of agreements with Dr KC, is blaming us without doing anything about it,” said NCP lawmaker Khaga Raj Adhikari. “Dr KC has resorted to an illegitimate tactic by dictating his wishes to Parliament.”

Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel stressed that the House should find a meeting point on the Health Education Act. He claimed that the bill envisions a powerful commission, as suggested by the Mathema commission, which could suggest on medical college affiliation.

Published: 10-07-2018 07:31

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