My Republica, 27 July 2018
Professor Kedar Bhakta Mathema (left) and NCP's deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Nembang offer liquid to Dr Govinda KC at TU Teaching Hospital on Thursday evening. Dr KC ended his hunger strike after the government agreed to fulfill all his demands. Deepak Dahal/Republica.
Hunger strike ends on 27th day
Dr Govinda KC has ended hunger strike on 27th day on Thursday following a nine-point agreement with the government.
Dr KC agreed to end his hunger strike after the government agreed to fulfill all his demands including a 10-year moratorium on establishing of new medical college in Kathmandu Valley, which had remained the major bone of contention in the talks.
Deputy parliamentary party leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Subas Nembang and Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema jointly offered him liquid to break his hunger strike at 10:35 pm Thursday.
Earlier, the talks between the government and the supporters of Dr KC had failed to make headway as the government rejected the demand on a 10-year moratorium.
As per the new agreement, the government no private college will be established in Kathmandu Valley for ten years. In case of those who have already received the Letters of Intent for establishing medical college in the Valley can sell their property to the government or they can shift to priority areas outside the Valley and such colleges will be provided incentives.
Earlier in the day, the talks could not continue after Oli government insisted on granting permission to some medical colleges including the Manmohan Medical College, which was established by some ruling NCP leaders.
The two sides have reached agreement to amend various 22 provisions in the National Medical Education Bill, which is already in parliament, in line with Thursday’s agreement.
The main opposition Nepali Congress has been obstructing parliament for the past several days demanding inclusion of all the demands of Dr KC in the new bill brought by the government.
As per the agreement reached on Thursday night, the government has agreed to form a two-member taskforce to run MBBS and other bachelor’s level medicine courses at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences without further delay and initiate action against those found guilty by the Medical Education Probe Commission-2017 within two months.
The two sides have also agreed to form a taskforce to fix criteria for the appointment of the office bearers at universities and various government-run academies and bring changes to the existing Act, laws and policy accordingly within the next 15 days.
The government has also reached an agreement to direct concerned departments of the Tribhuvan University to make necessary arrangements to resume classes at Janaki Medical College without any obstructions and take action against those involved in anomalies at the college.
The government will forward the Thursday’s agreement to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for the purpose of endorsing it through a cabinet meeting.
The government side had informally started discussing Dr KC’s demands from Monday. Prime Minister KP Oli, former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, former speaker Nembang, Prof Mathema, Dr Dharma Kanta Bastakoti, chairperson of the Nepal Medical Council, and Dr Divya Singh held several rounds of discussions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the demands.
The government talks team was headed by Secretary Khaga Raj Baral of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and included Joint-secretary Kedar Neupane of Ministry of Home Affairs and Dr Guna Raj Lohani, director general of the Department of Public Health Services. The team representing Dr KC included Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, Dr Jivan Kshetry, senior advocate Surendra Bhandari, advocate Om Prakash Aryal and a representative from Nepal Medical Association (NMA).
Earlier on Thursday, three dozen doctors were arrested by police from Maharajgunj during their protests in support of Dr KC. Doctors also staged a protest rally from the Institute of Medicine, Maharajgunj to Baluwatar.