Secy-led team to hold dialogue with Dr KCThe government has formed a team led by the education secretary to talk to Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging a fast-unto-death in Jumla for the last 17 days demanding a medical education law in line with the recommendations of the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led task force.A Cabinet meeting on Monday decided to form the panel with joint-secretaries from the health and home ministries as members.
The government has formed a team led by the education secretary to talk to Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging a fast-unto-death in Jumla for the last 17 days demanding a medical education law in line with the recommendations of the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led task force.
A Cabinet meeting on Monday decided to form the panel with joint-secretaries from the health and home ministries as members.
The communist-led government had been refusing to talk to Dr KC as long as he remained in Jumla on a hunger strike. However, the government commanding a two-thirds majority became flexible after the health of the senior orthopaedic surgeon deteriorated further on Monday.
The developments followed a series of discussions between Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Spokesman Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Dr KC’s representatives including Dr Abhishek Singh to find a way out of the crisis. According to Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang, the government formed the panel to save Dr KC.
Following the government’s move, a four-member team including Senior Advocate Dr Surendra Bhandary, Advocate Om Prakash Aryal, Dr Singh and a representative from the Nepal Medical Association was formed to negotiate on behalf of Dr KC.
According to Bhandary, they were waiting for the government team’s call for dialogue. Education Secretary Khagaraj Baral, the government team leader, said he would first enquire the Prime Minister’s Office about the developments.
Doctors attending Dr KC said his health further deteriorated from Sunday night. Senior Advocate Bhandary said the government should withdraw the bill and let Dr KC stay at a hospital of his choice so as to convince the fasting surgeon to come to the Capital. “The NMA will bring Dr KC to Kathmandu if the government is ready to withdraw the medical bill from Parliament,” said Dr Singh.
Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel told the Post that the government would bring Dr KC to Kathmandu in view of his worsening health.
The government is adamant on tabling the National Medical Education Bill in Parliament without changes. Despite Dr KC’s strong reservations, the government has registered the bill in Parliament flouting a number of recommendations of the Mathema panel.
The panel recommended a 10-year moratorium on new medical schools in the Valley, requiring them to have a hospital operational for at least three years. Both the provisions are missing from the registered bill. Omitting the moratorium, according to critics, is a ploy to grant the Manmohan Academy of Health Sciences in Kathmandu and the B&C Medical College in Birtamod, among others, university affiliation.
However, the government has been opposing the provision not to allow medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years and restriction on affiliation to medical colleges.
NMA warns of halting hospital services
The Nepal Medical Association has threatened to shut down all the hospital services except emergency from Thursday if the government fails to address Dr Govinda KC’s demands within 48 hours. In a statement on Monday, the NMA said all the services at state-run and private medical hospitals, nursing homes and clinics would be halted indefinitely.