Medical education bill presented in NA amid NC lawmakers’ obstruction

Kathmandu, January 28

Minister of Education, Science and Technology Giri Raj Mani Pokharel today presented the National Medical Education Bill in the National Assembly despite obstruction of proceedings in the Upper House and sloganeering in the well by main opposition Nepali Congress lawmakers.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday despite House obstruction by NC lawmakers. Senior Orthopaedic

Surgeon Dr Govinda KC has been staging hunger strike demanding that the government incorporate all the points of the nine-point agreement he had signed with the government on July 26.

NA Chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsina postponed the House meeting till January 31 to give lawmakers a timeframe of 72 hours to register their amendments to the bill. Chair Timilsina started House proceeding at 11:00am today which NC lawmakers obstructed.

NC lawmakers failed in their bid to prevent Minister Pokharel from reaching the rostrum as the marshals successfully escorted him. Minister Pokharel then presented the bill in the Upper House and Timilsina adjourned the meeting till January 31.

The medical bill was tabled in the Upper House along with the HoR message by National Assembly Secretary Rajendra Phuyal in the second meeting of the House and Minister Pokharel presented the bill in the third meeting amid the NC lawmakers’ protest.

NC lawmakers stood up from their seats when the first meeting of the House convened at 11:00am and Timilsina allowed NC lawmaker Badri Pandey to speak. He raised the issue of two hospitals issues named after the Koiralas and continued obstruction of the House. Timilsina postponed the house for 15 minute.

Then, Timilsina convened a meeting with the ruling and opposition parties to forge consensus, but both sides refused to budge from their stances. He then convened the second meeting of the House at 11.30am, but NC lawmakers again obstructed House proceedings.

In this meeting Timilsina allowed Secretary Rajendra Phuyal to table the bill in the House amid the NC lawmakers’ obstruction. Timilsina convened the third meeting of the House at 12.30pm but NC lawmakers again stood up from their seats to stall House proceedings.

Even when NC lawmakers were protesting the bill from the House well, Timilsina asked the lawmakers to take part in theoretical discussion of the bill, but the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmakers did not participate in the discussion, following which Timilsina postponed the House meeting till January 31.

NCP lawmakers supported the minister’s proposal to discuss the bill in the House.

As per parliamentary procedure, lawmakers can register amendment proposals to the bill in the Parliament Secretariat within 72 hours. “We will pay attention to any amendment that could be registered to the bill,” Minister Pokharel said.

NCP Chief whip in the NA Khimlal Bhattrai told mediapersons after the meeting that there was no need to register amendment proposal on the bill as it was already discussed in the HoR and its relevant panels. “The main opposition is not acting as a responsible force in the House. It cannot justify its opposition to the bill,” Bhattrai said.

NC Parliamentary Party leader in the NA Surendra Pandey told mediapersons that NC would boycott House proceedings if the government did not address their demands.

“The government is trying to bulldoze the bill through the Upper House and the House is being treated as a shadow of the government. The government should itself amend the bill within 72 hours. We will not participate in House proceeding unless the bill is corrected,” Pandey said.

Timilsina allowed NC lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari to speak in the beginning of the third session. He urged the government to form a talks team to hold dialogue with Dr KC and address his demands. “We will continue our protest unless the government implements the agreement signed with Dr KC,” Adhikari said.

Pokharel said the government planned to discuss Dr KC’s demands in the Cabinet rather than forming a talks team.