Dr KC refuses to end fast
Dr Govinda KC has refused to end his 11th fast unto death Friday evening stating that the medical education bill passed by the Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament earlier on the day does not incorporate the spirit of his nonviolent movement.
Dr KC's representative in the dialogue with the government team Dr Avishek Raj Singh told Setopati that the senior orthopedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) refused to end his fast stating that there can be maneuverings in the future if the bill were passed as it is.
The bill passed by the parliamentary committee includes '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.'
The standards mentioned in the bill will be set by the Medical College Regulation Commission to be formed under the prime minister, in accordance to the act. Dr KC has problem with the provision about the standards, and suspects that such commission will hastily set flexible standards to ensure that all the medical colleges waiting for affiliation after receiving letters of intent will get affiliation.
Dr KC wants that provision to be replaced with 'if they meet the standards set by the Mathema report.' The dialogue held at the Education Ministry Friday evening ended without reaching any conclusion due to the stand of Dr KC.
"Dr KC fears that he may have to start another fast unto death in the future for the standards to be set by the commission if the issue is not settled now," a person present during the dialogue told Setopati requesting anonymity.
The two parties have also yet to agree on other demands put by Dr KC including appointment of dean at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under the Tribhuvan University (TU), autonomy of IOM and others. The government side says the issue of dean appointment can move forward only after signing the agreement to end the fast, Dr Singh told Setopati.
A task force formed under Dr Bhagawan Koirala is currently working on the issue of IOM's autonomy. The two sides have also not agreed on the issue of resignation by Vice Chancellor of TU Tirtha Khaniya.
Dr KC's fast was earlier expected to end on the 19th day Friday evening after the parliamentary committee passed the medical education bill in a way to address his demands.
The parliamentary committee passed the medical education bill incorporating the agreement reached during the meeting called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at Baluwatar earlier on the day to address his demands.
PM Deuba 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 parliamentary committee 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.
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.
But the bill passed by the parliamentary committee after the Baluwatar agreement had replaced that with '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' to address Dr KC's demands.