NC obstructs upper house session over hospital operation issue

KATHMANDU: The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) obstructed today’s National Assembly session, expressing its concern over the government-apathy to operate hospitals established in commemoration of NC's prominent leaders-- late Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil Koirala.

The recent meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to keep the operations of nine hospitals across the country under the management of the federal government. But the hospitals established in honour of the two leaders are not in the list of nine hospitals and the government is yet to decide on the matter.

Right after the commencement of the session, NC members stood from their respective seats as a symbolic protest and amidst it, Sarita Prasai questioned the government as to why it ignored issue of operations of the two hospitals.

The contributions of the leader duo in materialising Nepal’s historic peace process, establishing a republic system and the promulgation of the constitution through the Constituent Assembly are unforgettable and it is not expected that anybody would underrate such contributions, said Prasai. She demanded the government to apprise the House about its opinions regarding the issue.

Following Prasai’s views, Minister of State for Health and Population Dr Surendra Kumar Yadav informed the House that the government has not decided to scrap the hospitals. He took time to share the Cabinet's decision to operate nine hospitals across the country under the federal government.

Surendra Pandey asked the reason behind leaving behind the names of the two hospitals in the list of nine facilities while Ram Narayan Bidari of the major ruling party Nepal Communist Party (NCP) criticised the main opposition’s move and raised a question about its validity.

The standing position of the main opposition and sitting position of the ruling party on the Assembly did not suit a parliamentary tradition, he quipped. Dr Bimala Poudel of the same party requested the main opposition not to obstruct the session as it was mandated to finalise multiple bills.

NA chair Ganesh Timalsina called on the protesting upper house members to take their respective seats, but  the latter refused to do so, forcing the NA chair to adjourn the session by half an hour.