KC threatens new hunger strike if PM fails to honour agreement

  • Oli assures activist of measures to enforce pact within given time frame
- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2018-

Senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC on Saturday said he wouldn’t hesitate to go on another hunger strike if the government fails to honour the deal reached with him last month.

KC ended his 15th indefinite fast on July 26 after signing a nine-point agreement with the government. It included endorsement of the Medical Education Bill by retaining the provisions of the Medical Education Ordinance. Since then, the government has not moved beyond registering the bill in Parliament.

In a meeting with KC and his team Saturday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli reassured the doctor that the government was taking every possible step to address his demands within the agreed time frame. Additionally, Oli pledged that the government would implement other necessary reforms in the health sector.

“The government and you [KC] have same opinions over reforms on the health sector,” PM’s Press Advisor Kundan Aryal quoted Oli as saying. “We will be implementing your demands and look forward to making further reforms in the health sector.”

The two-hour meeting at the prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar was touted as fruitful by both the government and KC’s team members. According to Abhishek Singh, who coordinated KC’s meeting group, the government sounded every bit positive about fulfilling all the demands before the deadline. One particular concern of KC is about the Medical Education Bill, which is still under consideration in Parliament 17 days since his demands were accepted.

“Prime Minister Oli has appealed to the members of the Parliamentary Committee for Education and Health to arrive at a conclusion and pass the bill for approval by the President,” Aryal told the Post.

In addition to the bill, KC reminded the prime minister of two other points from the agreement: forming a committee to study the reasons behind the inability to start MBBS classes at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, and taking action against 43 individuals named by the Gauri Bahadur Karki-led committee.

The committee identified 43 individuals with “dubious” roles in affiliating private medical schools. TU Vice-chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya, Registrar Dilli Ram Upreti and Rector Sudha Tripathi are among the top officials charged with permitting the controversial National Medical College to run MBBS courses, despite the facility lacking the required infrastructure.

Officials have asked KC to lead the Medical Education Commission as its vice-chairman, arguing that the move would facilitate implementation of his demands. KC turned down the offer saying that the post should go to some other deserving candidate.

“If he accepted the position,” said Aryal, “it would help fulfil his own demands and increase people’s access to health care.”

Published: 12-08-2018 07:32

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