Govt seeks more time to address demandsA talks team formed by the government to address Dr Govinda KC’s demands failed to present their plans to endorse the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill, making the meeting fruitless even on Saturday.
A talks team formed by the government to address Dr Govinda KC’s demands failed to present their plans to endorse the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill, making the meeting fruitless even on Saturday.
The indefinite hunger strike of Dr KC entered the sixth day on Saturday with his health condition deteriorating fast. Endorsing the HPE Bill is the key demand of Dr KC, who for years has been pressing for reforms in the country’s medical education sector.
The government team led by Education Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha had pledged to present a concrete plan on Saturday. However, stating that they could not hold meetings with ministers on a public holiday, the government sought to defer the meeting till Sunday evening.
Shrestha said they were working hard to ensure that all of Dr KC’s demands are addressed. He said some of the demands including endorsement of the HPE bill go beyond their jurisdiction, citing the need for discussion with education and health ministers. “We will hold a meeting on Sunday before sitting for talks,” said Shrestha.
It is learnt that Health Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel and Education Minister Gopal Man Shrestha have decided to meet Ranju Kumari Jha, chairperson of the Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare Committee of the Legislature-Parliament, to discuss the HPE bill, which is currently under consideration at the committee.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people rallied in the Capital on Saturday to press the government to address the fasting doctor’s concerns. His supporters have started a relay hunger strike at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu.
The participants including doctors, medical students, actors, politicians and commoners carried placards pressing the government to address all of Dr KC’s demands at the earliest.
Apart from the HPE Bill, Dr KC has been demanding mandatory enrolment of meritorious students in private medical colleges, some of which have been admitting students with poor results, charging exorbitant fees from them. He has also demanded autonomy for the Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University to enrol students, set fees and grant affiliations or de-affiliate medical colleges that do not follow the directives of the government and the court.