MPs raise issues of public concern

Kathmandu, February 4

Lawmakers today drew the attention of the government to various issues of public concern.

Speaking at the zero hour of the House of Representatives, lawmaker Dila Sangraoula asked the government to inform the Parliament whether the private medical colleges had refunded additional fees to the students or not. “The government, medical colleges and guardians had inked a tripartite agreement to refund the extra fees charged to the students.

I want the government to inform the lower house on the implementation status of the agreement,” she said.

On November 25, the Ministry of Home Affairs had decided to initiate action against medical colleges if they failed to return the extra money taken from students within 24 hours.

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Attorney General Agni Kharel and other officials of stakeholder agencies were present at the meeting. Medical students had been protesting against their colleges for weeks demanding refund of extra fees.

A Cabinet meeting, last year, capped MBBS fees at Rs 3.85 million in Kathmandu valley and Rs 4.24 million outside the valley.

Students, however, complained that colleges had collected Rs 1.2 to Rs 1.5 million extra amount from them. MBBS fees for this year have been set at Rs 4.02 million inside the valley and Rs 4.44 million outside the valley.

Lawmaker Dal Bahadur Rana said most of the ministries had yet to develop their plans and programmes.

“There are only five months left to spend the budget allocated for the current fiscal. I would like to draw serious attention of the Ministry of Finance and the concerned ministries for proper utilisation of the budget. Poor spending of budget will lead infrastructure development plans to nowhere,” he said.

Lawmaker Dil Kumari urged the government to stop illegal sand mining from the rivers in Tarai to protect the environment.

She also raised the issue of the January 10 killing of Dilip Kumar Mahato, 26, of Mithila-5, in Dhanusha district and demanded the concerned authority to make public its investigation report. Mahato was crushed to death by a tipper for raising voice against illegal extraction of river products.

Lawmakers Durga Paudel and Dev Prasad Timalsena called on the government to ensure that sugarcane farmers got their outstanding dues cleared by sugar mills at the earliest.

Farmers have been claiming that sugar mills owe them around Rs 1.5 billion. Hundreds of cane farmers from across the country were in the capital last month. They protested against sugar mills, demanding clearance of the dues. However, they have yet to get full payment from the sugar mills.

The lawmakers also stressed on the need to provide support price and subsidy for the farmers, besides initiating action against the defaulters.

Lawmaker Nirudevi Pal praised the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens for its move to demolish chhau sheds in the Far-west and Mid- Western regions.

According to her, the local administration, in association with police, have destroyed 8,700 chhau sheds in 12 districts in less than two month period. In December, the MoHA had directed all district administration offices of the Sudurpaschim province to initiate stringent action against anyone who encouraged or practised chhaupadi.

The MoHA had directed DAOs to eliminate superstition and taboo associated with menstruation. The local administration was tasked to identify and destroy all chhau sheds.

Though the Supreme Court ruled chhaupadi illegal in 2005, it is still prevalent in some parts of Sudurpashim province.

Lawmakers asked govt to provide subsidy, support price to sugarcane farmers