Dr KC pads up for 16th hunger strikeAnti-corruption crusader Dr Govinda KC has threatened to go on his 16th hunger strike if the government fails to endorse the much-delayed Medical Education Bill (MEB) verbatim.
Anti-corruption crusader Dr Govinda KC has threatened to go on his 16th hunger strike if the government fails to endorse themuch -delayed Medical Education Bill (MEB) verbatim.
He issued a three-week ultimatum to the government to implement his demands, mentioned in a nine-point memorandum.
At a press conference held here on Monday, Dr KC announced three key demands. First, endorse the bill; take action against accused officials by the Gauri Bahadur Karki-led committee; grant authority to the Institute of Medicine (IoM) that Tribhuvan University currently holds; establish at least one state-run teaching hospital in each province; and conduct MBBS classes in the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences.
Regarding medical course admission fee, he said, “The government had tried to increase MBBS admission fee from this session. When they should try to decrease the cost of education, they are determined to increase it.”
The Ministry of Education and medical education stakeholders had proposed to increase the fees citing inflation, which the Cabinet denied later.
Dr KC also demands the government take action against Kathmandu University officials. He accuses them of charging more fee than the government ceiling.
“This hunger strike will be against Prime Minister Oli as well. He has the responsibility to eliminate corrupt activities of all officials under him, which seems to be neglected anyway despite his motto of zero tolerance. If the government fails to address these demands, I not hesitate to stage 16th hunger strike from December 18,” Dr KC told the Post.
The activist also demands the government immediately arrest the rapist(s) and killer(s) of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant, and take action against police personnel who tampered with the evidences of the crime. He also demands action against those who opened gunfire on people at a protest rally seeking justice for Nirmala, in Kanchanpur on August 24.
“I am a citizen first, and have the right to speak for other citizens’ as well. It is clearly negligence because more than three months have passed since the rape and murder. Further, the government has still not replied why the two police officers,
dismissed by the government for their dubious role, tampered with the evidences,” said Dr KC.
Since 2012, the activist has staged indefinite hunger strike 15 times mainly seeking reforms in medical sector. He ended his 27-days long 15th hunger strike on July 26 after the government agreed to add the recommendations of the panel led by Dr Kedar Bhakta Mathema and endorse the MEB as well as implement other demands.
Slamming the authorities’ chicanery, Dr KC said, “The government has cheated us on endorsing the bill. After they agreed, there was no need of more discussion. The upper house would have easily passed the bill if the government really had intent to improve the medical sector.”
PM Oli had assured Dr KC of implementing the demands when they met in Baluwatar following on August 11. This meeting took place 17 days after the activist ended his 15th hunger strike.
On August 29, Dr KC abandoned the meeting with the Education and Health Committee stating there was nothing more to discuss on the bill after the agreement with the government.
Despite government’s assurance, the bill was not passed during the previous house session because the Parliament’s Education and Health Committee said it wanted more discussions on the bill.
Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel told the Post, “The Education and Health committee will complete the final discussion on the bill soon. We shall table the bill for endorsement when the upper house opens for the winter session.”
Dr KC has accused some government officials of having personal interest for the delay in endorsing the bill as per the Mathema panel’s report.