NCP, Congress preparing for showdown

Kathmandu, January 14

The parliamentary offices of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the main opposition Nepali Congress in Singha Durbar are bustling with the lawmakers of both parties preparing for a discussion on the National Medical Education Bill scheduled for Friday in the House of Representatives.

Both parties are busy making strategies in relation to dealing with the bill in the House. The bill has been passed by the sub-panel as well as the Education and Health Committee with the majority, though Nepali Congress lawmakers registered a note of dissent at both the panels.

Chairperson of the panel Jaya Puri Gharti presented the bill in the House of Representatives yesterday. According to an HoR source, the bill’s provision will be discussed on Friday.

The government and the NCP lawmakers are all set to pass the bill as it is. Whereas the NC is looking to revise the bill’s draft before it is passed by the House.

NC has been repeatedly demanding that the bill should include all the agreements with Dr KC. The government and Dr KC had signed a nine-point agreement on 26 July  2018 to end Dr KC’s 15th hunger strike. But the parliamentary committee on January 7 passed the draft bill without including all the agreements singed with Dr KC.

NCP Lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel told THT that the party’s position on the bill was to pass it from the House with the majority. “We have addressed almost all of Dr KC’s demands,” he said, adding, “We don’t need to wait for anything.” He said that the party could plan on the situation. He said there were some days left, so we could bring the Congress to agree too.

NC Lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu told THT that there were three days left for the House meeting. “If ruling party lawmakers try to use their majority and pass the bill we will not sit quietly in the House. We will opt for dialogue first. And if they don’t want it, we will act as per the situation,” he said, adding, “Our final decision will come from party’s parliamentary committee meeting on Thursday.”

NC Chief Whip Bal Krishna Khand also told THT that their friends were making a plan in case the NCP tried to use its majority to pass the bill.

NC is for including all the agreements signed with Dr KC. The agreements reached with Dr KC states that the preamble should include the name of the Mathema Commission. But the bill didn’t include that in its preamble. The NC also opposed the provision of the bill that allowed medical colleges to open outside Kathmandu Valley after getting permission from Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University.

NC also wanted to amend the provision regarding CTEVT. The agreement with Dr KC said that the short course in medical education should be phased out within five years after the bill is enacted and becomes law. But the bill excluded that provision and wrote that CTEVT course would be scrapped or upgraded or phased out according as required. The provision of time limit was deleted from the bill.

The NC was also not happy with another provision that allowed establishment of the medical university. The bill has barred opening medical colleges inside the valley for the next 10 years, but it does not bar opening a medical university.