Employee strike hits medical students

Kathmandu: The ongoing strike of employees at Imadol-based KIST Medical College in Lalitpur has hit students hard. The college remains closed since December 14 after the employees launched protest demanding salary hike.

The medical college currently has a total of 600 students pursuing MBBS and BDS courses. Due to the protest, MBBS students have not been able to take final year practical examinations, which the Institute of Medicine has postponed until further notice. Similarly, students haven’t been able to undergo internship.

“Our internship has been affected as there are no patients in the hospital. Though we are still undergoing internship in the emergency ward, we aren’t able to practice much as there are very few patients. We have urged the agitating employees and the college administration to resolve the issue through talks, but to no avail,” said Arun Upreti, an MBBS graduate undergoing internship at the medical college. Currently, 70 MBBS graduates are undergoing internship at the college.

However, the hospital management is unlikely to address the demand of employees. “We aren’t in a condition to increase the salary of employees. Institute of Medicine has reduced seats from 135 to 90 and total fees for MBBS and BDS course can now be paid in instalments. We are hit financially. The employees should end their protest,” said Akshaya Prasad Gautam, senior administrator at the hospital.

“We were compelled to launch protest as the hospital administration turned a deaf ear to our demand. We have sent a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The ministry has promised us to make arrangements for a meeting with the college management on January 8. We will not end our protest until our demand is met,” said Yam Bahadur Shrestha, president of employee union at the hospital.