Dr KC ends hunger strike after marathon talks
Kathmandu, July 26
Dr Govinda KC ended his 27-day hunger strike tonight after the government agreed to address all his demands, including revising the National Medical Education Bill, which has been registered in the Parliament.
Dr KC, who has been calling for reforms in medical education for six years, broke his fast-unto-death by consuming juice given to him by Subas Chandra Nembang, senior leader of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), and educationist Kedar Bhakta Mathema. This was the 15th time the doctor had staged the hunger strike since July 2012.
Dr KC did not make any comment after ending his hunger strike as he was not in a condition to do so. He has since been transferred to the intensive care unit of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital due to his deteriorating health.
“The Parliament will now take up Dr KC’s issue and take it to a logical conclusion,” said Nembang.
Dr KC had agreed to end his fast-unto-death after over 24 hours of tortuous negotiations between his representatives and the government. The negotiations stretched for hours and even became tense after the government asked Dr KC to soften his stance on putting a 10-year moratorium on opening new medical colleges in Kathmandu valley, while Dr KC vehemently rejected the proposal.
The government finally bowed to his demand and signed a nine-point agreement at around 9:30 pm at the prime minister’s residence. Details of the agreement were not immediately disclosed.
“It has addressed all the demands raised by Dr KC,” said Abhishek Raj Singh, coordinator of Dr KC’s talks team, thanking Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli for playing an effective role during negotiations.
Dr KC had demanded that the name of Mathema-led commission be mentioned in the preamble of the National Medical Education Bill, the definition of medical education encompass nursing and other technical subjects, apart from MBBS and MD, and the government itself be allowed to open as many medical colleges in the country. He had also demanded that a moratorium of 10 years be put on opening new medical colleges in Kathmandu valley, each university be allowed to provide affiliation to a maximum of five medical colleges, and new medical colleges be allowed to start operation only after operating a hospital for a period of three years.
Most of the demands put forth by Dr KC were part of the National Medical Education Ordinance introduced by the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba. These provisions, however, were missing from the new National Medical Education Bill, which was drafted upon expiry of the validity of the ordinance.
Dr KC had started his hunger strike demanding that the government withdraw the bill from the Parliament and incorporate provisions of the ordinance in the bill.
But yesterday, representatives of Dr KC softened their stance and said the government could table the bill in Parliament and make amendments to it before getting it endorsed by lawmakers.
This overture made by Dr KC’s team was, however, overlooked by the government yesterday, prompting Dr KC’s representatives to walk out of talks.
But since then the government had intensified meetings with representatives of Dr KC and even agreed to suspend the process of opening new medical colleges in the valley for a period of 10 years.
This decision on 10-year moratorium will prevent the proposed Manmohan Memorial Medial College and Teaching Hospital, which is owned by ruling NCP (NCP) leaders, from coming into operation. But sources said the government is planning to buy out that property and operate it as a state-owned teaching hospital.
Govt bows finally
- Govt agrees to meet all the demands put forth by Dr Govinda KC
- National Medical Education Bill to be revised
- Dr KC broke his fast-unto-death by consuming juice given to him by Subas Chandra Nembang
- The decision on 10-year moratorium on opening medical colleges in Kathmandu will prevent proposed Manmohan Memorial Medial College and Teaching Hospital, which is owned by ruling NCP (NCP) leaders, from coming into operation.