House panel scrambles to table medical education bill as KC threatens hunger strike

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Jan 2, 2019-

As Dr Govinda KC has threatened to start another hunger strike over the delay in the tabling of Medical Education Bill in Parliament, the Education and Health Committee of Parliament is yet to agree on the provision which stipulates that hospitals and medical colleges with approved letters of intent (LOI) should only run their operation outside the Kathmandu Valley.

The provision has become a major obstacle that is keeping the committee from tabling  the bill.

The committee has been trying to reach out to Dr KC to seek his consent to amend the provision. Dr KC has refused to hold dialogue with the committee, saying that there is nothing more to discuss, as the government has already agreed to implement the bill in its original form.

“There is a proper provision to allow the hospitals and medical colleges with LOI to teach medicine outside the Valley. Nothing is obstructing the bill from being tabled in Parliament,” Dr KC had said in a statement on Sunday.

On November 26, Dr KC had given a three-week deadline to implement his demand and had later extended it by 15 days after the committee assured to table and endorse the bill it at the earliest. The second and final deadline of Dr KC ended on Tuesday, he has reached Ilam to stage what would be his 16th hunger strike. Dr KC had ended his 27-day long 15th hunger strike on July 26 after the government committed to endorse the bill as per the recommendations of a task force led by Kedar Bhakta Mathema.

Nepal Communist Party lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai said the bill needs to be presented in Parliament for which they need to discuss it with Dr KC, mainly on how to give affiliation to medical colleges to operate outside Kathmandu Valley.

The Mathema panel’s report states that medical colleges with LOI can either transfer their property to the government and receive compensation, or open medical colleges in places designated by the government.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa said the provision in the bill that allows a university to grant affiliation to only up to five medical colleges has also put the hospitals and medical colleges with the LOI in a tight spot.

“Since Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University are both unable to grant any more affiliations, hospitals and medical colleges that have fulfilled the criteria and have received the LOI could face difficulty running medicine courses,” Thapa said.

NCP lawmaker Khaga Raj Adhikari said the difficulty raised by the affiliation limit proposed in the bill was also obstructing the bill’s passage.

The committee has assured Dr KC to table the bill in Parliament by Thursday.

Published: 02-01-2019 07:45

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