Dr KC likely to end fast by evening

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Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba  holding a  meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Gopalman Shrestha, Health Minister Giri Raj Mani Pokharel and Former Health Minister Gagan Thapa, among others, at Baluwatar on Friday, August 11, 2017. RSS

Dr Govinda KC is likely to end his fast unto death on the 19th day Friday evening after the meeting of stakeholders related to Dr KC's demands called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at Baluwatar on Friday has forged agreement to pass the medical education bill in a way to address the demands.

PM Deuba has instructed the stakeholders concerned to create an environment for Dr KC to end his fast by passing the bill on the basis of new agreement reached to rewrite the clause the  subcommittee of the Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament had added on Thursday to allow affiliation to medical colleges that have already received letter of intent, and have the requisite physical infrastructure.

The medical education bill tabled in the parliament by the KP Oli government to address Dr KC's demands was passed by the subcommittee adding a sentence 'there will, however, be no obstruction in providing affiliation to the educational institutions that have received letter of intent before this act came into force, and meet the requirements for physical infrastructure set by the bodies concerned' to clause 13 of the bill.  

The bill will now include 'there will be no obstruction for providing affiliation to the educational institutions that have already received letter of intent if they meet the standards set after this act comes into force', according to former health minister Gagan Thapa who attended the meeting. The other provisions including not providing affiliation to any other medical college in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years will be kept as it is.

A few medical colleges including Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, financed by UML leaders and cadres, Nepal Police Hospital, People's Dental and National in Kathmandu, and B&C of Jhapa that have already received such letters of intent would have been eligible for affiliation as per the changes made by the subcommittee in the bill.

The standards to be mentioned in the rewritten clause after Friday's agreement will be set by the Medical College Regulation Commission to be formed under the prime minister, in accordance to the act. The commission will do mapping for the number of medical colleges that can be opened in a district on the basis of geography and population, and set the mandatory standards for medical colleges.

The act also requires the Health Ministry to set separate standards for operation of medical colleges while the universities also have their own standards for providing affiliation. It will be very hard for the medical colleges that are waiting for affiliation having already acquired letters of intent to meet all these standards, according to persons involved in negotiations.   

PM Deuba had assigned the responsibility of addressing the demands to former health minister Thapa who thoroughly understands the issues related to Dr KC's campaign for reform of medical education. He had been playing the role of facilitator for the past few days holding discussions with Dr KC, government and political parties. Former vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University Kedar Bhakta Mathema, who had led the commission that submitted the report on which the medical education bill is based, had helped Thapa in the role. Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha was also involved in negotiations for the past three days.  
The modality for agreement reached Friday was agreed in the meeting held at Shrestha's residence in Hattiban well beyond Thursday midnight. Thapa, Shrestha, Mathema, Education Minister Gopal Man Shrestha, Health Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel, negotiators on behalf of Dr KC and the government, and others were present in the meeting.  
PM Deuba had summoned Chairman of the Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament where the bill is currently being deliberated Ranju Jha, education minister, health minister, education and health secretaries, and other stakeholders for the meeting on Friday.