NC to oppose if bill presented in current form

Kathmandu, July 13

The main opposition Nepali Congress has said it will protest in the Parliament if the government tables the National Medical Education Bill, which was registered at the Parliament Secretariat on July 6, as it is.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had registered the bill without changing the content in the previous Medical Education Ordinance Replacement Bill. The new bill does not address the demands of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on hunger strike since June 30 in Jumla, as well as past agreements reached with him.

The bill is also against the recommendations made by the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led commission. Among other things, major recommendations by the Mathema commission include not allowing establishment of new medical colleges in Kathmandu valley for 10 years; scholarships to 75 per cent of medical students; full-fledged hospital operation for three years before granting medical college status; and not allowing a university to grant affiliation to more than five medical colleges.

NC lawmakers Gagan Kumar Thapa and Sanjay Kumar Gautam have already registered a notice of protest in the parliament on the bill. NC lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu said his party was for saving the life of Dr KC and addressing his demands.

The previous government led by the NC, in which the then CPN-Maoist Centre was a coalition partner, presented the ordinance in line with the recommendation of the Mathema commission and as per the agreement reached with Dr KC.

“But now, after the CPN-MC’s merger with the CPN-UML, they are opposing the provisions of the ordinance,” said Badu. “We do not know why they are for breaching the agreement and repeating anomalies in the health education sector.” He also said that the government had not yet reached out to the opposition to discuss the matter.

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara had postponed the Parliament meeting for three days until tomorrow allowing some time for parties to reach consensus on the matter.

“Minister of Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel told the Parliament that he was positive about forging fresh consensus. But at the same time, he also said that the bill’s contents would not be revised,” said Badu.

“If the government is adamant on not revising the bill, there’s no point in holding talks. We are firm on our stance that we will protest if the bill is presented in the Parliament as it is.”