SWC biased in favour of Manmohan foundation?

Kathmandu, August 29

The Social Welfare Council has issued a letter of consent in principle to Manmohan Memorial Health Foundation to utilise over Rs 4 billion of foreign funding in its new project.

The SWC, which receives over 1,500 project proposals from non-governmental organisations each fiscal, has issued a consent letter for the first time to an NGO, seeking necessary documents to obtain the council’s permission to run a health project by Friday. Nepal Health Care Cooperative Ltd under the MMHF runs Manmohan Memorial Community Hospital and Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences.

“SWC has asked MMHF in writing to submit more documents, including a letter from the Ministry of Health to SWC, after the council recently endorsed its project application,” SWC’s Member Secretary Dilli Prasad Bhatta told this daily.

According to him, MMHF submitted an application with a few documents mentioning that it wanted to launch a health project at the earliest under Monmohan Hospital and Medical College by obtaining Rs 4.7 billion from India.

Though most of SWC officials took exception to Bhatt’s move handing over a consent letter to MMHF in haste, the member secretary, however, said he wanted to change the working style at the SWC by doing different things. “There are hundreds of NGOs which struggle for months to obtain SWC permission to run a project but MMHF is treated as an exception,” an SWC director told THT.

Interestingly, the MMHF’s project proposal comes at a time when the government has already formed a five-member committee to recommend the possibility of purchasing hospitals and medical colleges, including MMIHS, which has already built infrastructure in the Valley.

The proposed MMIHS has not obtained affiliation from Tribhuvan University to run MBBS courses.

Joint Secretary Mahendra Kumar Thapa, who heads I/NGOs division in the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said the ministry had already asked SWC to send details of its decision to issue a letter of consent in principle to the foundation. SWC was asked to clarify its move whether issuance of letter to MMHF was done as per the Social Welfare Act. “We’ll comment only after studying SWC’s reply that the MoWCSW received late in the afternoon yesterday,” Thapa added.

CPN-UML lawmaker Rajendra Prasad Pandey, who is also MMIHS chief, couldn’t be contacted while other officials refused to comment on the issues.