NC to continue protest in Parliament, streets

Kathmandu, January 30

The main opposition Nepali Congress will continue its protest in the House and the streets to press the government to fairly investigate irregularities in Nepal Airlines jet-purchase scam, to save the life of Dr Govinda KC who is staging his 16th hunger strike, and to ‘correct’ its move of getting the National Medical Education Bill endorsed from the Parliament forcibly.

As for the issue related to the government’s move to scrap two hospitals named after two former prime ministers, the Nepali Congress made it clear that it would continue to raise the issue until the government officially announced that the hospitals had been brought under the federal government.

A meeting of the Cabinet on Monday had decided to operate the hospitals — GP Koirala National Centre for Respiratory Diseases based in Tanahun, and Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital of Khajura — under the central government, a minister had told THT.

The House of Representative and National Assembly are scheduled to convene tomorrow, but the Nepali Congress is firm in its stand that it will continue to stall House proceedings until its other demands are met.

“We are not going to backtrack from our stand under the existing circumstances,” said Nepali Congress Chief Whip Bal Krishna Khand after a meeting of the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee today. He said neither had the government officially communicated about its decision on the hospitals, nor had it addressed the NC’s other demands, including that related to saving Dr KC’s life.

The Nepali Congress has called a meeting of its parliamentary party tomorrow morning to devise a strategy for its presentation in the House tomorrow.

Although Speaker Mahara requested Nepali Congress lawmakers not to disrupt House proceedings even if they continued their protest, the meeting ended inconclusively after Nepali Congress lawmakers stood firm on their stand, according to Rameshwor Ray Yadav, a lawmaker representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party. The House committee will meet tomorrow again on the same issue.

Reaffirming the party’s plans to carry out nationwide protest on February 4, Nepali Congress Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma also announced additional issues to be raised during demonstrations.

Organising a press conference here today, Sharma said the party would demand fair investigation into irregularities in the Nepal Airlines Corporation jet purchase scam, among other corruption scandals, which did not figure in the party’s previous announcement. Sunday’s announcement had only stated ‘corruption scandals’ without elaborating.

Sharma said they would raise issues such as the government’s decision to award the contract of Budhigandaki hydropower project to a foreign company without competition, and delay in the construction of the second international airport in Nijgad as a result of the proposal to fell double the required number of trees.

Other corruption scams the Nepali Congress will raise in the protests include the government’s failure to arrest the ‘big fish’ in the 33 kg gold smuggling scandal, and the Province 5 Assembly Secretariat releasing more amount than the actual market price while procuring 11 vehicles.