UMC students start relay hunger strike

Bhairahawa, November 15

Agitating MBBS students of Universal Medical College have started a relay hunger strike from today. They have also started studying at the site of hunger strike.

UMC students have been agitating for the past 16 days by padlocking the college, demanding the return of unlawful extra fee charged by the college management. They said the college had charged Rs 1.5 million additional amount from each MBBS student.

In the first phase of the programme, students had submitted a memorandum of understanding to the college management and other stakeholders, and staged a sit-in. Stating that college had shown apathy towards meeting their demands, agitating students had locked the college in the second phase of their struggle.

The relay hunger strike is divided into six hours’ slot. Students of one semester will have to sit for the strike for 24 hours. Students of Chitwan Medical College, Bharatpur, Pokhara’s Gandaki Medical College and Birgunj’s National Medical College have expressed solidarity to the agitation by UMC students.

A UMC management source, said students had started their agitation at the whims of rumour. Public Relations Officer Tej Kumar KC at UMC said the college had not charged additional fee other than fixed by Institute of Medicine. “They have ruined their studies by running after rumour,” KC added.

Besides UMC, students of Gandaki, Chitwan and National medical colleges have also continued their agitation demanding refund of additional amount charged.

Earlier, the government had issued a directive to medical colleges asking them to return extra amount within a month. Students of UMC, however, said they were forced to launch the agitation as the college management was reluctant to refund the extra fee.

Rupandehi Chief District Officer Mahadev Panth said colleges charging fee more than the limit set by the IOM would have to refund the students. Students have submitted a charter of demands to the DAO. The government has set the limit of Rs 4.2 million for MBBS programme except food, accommodation and exam fee.