Senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC has said that he would launch 16th series of hunger strike for exerting pressure to the government for implementing the past agreements reached with him. He has alleged the government for not showing sincerity to pass the National Medical Education Bill (NMEB). His recent demand forwarded with the planned hunger strike is that the NMEB has to be passed as soon as possible incorporating the nine points agreements that the government had made commitment to implement. As the government failed to expedite the process to pass the NMEB, he had issued 21 days ultimatum to the government to fulfill his demands on December 16. But the deadline was extended till January 1 after the Parliamentary Panel of Education and Health Committee requested him to provide some time to take the NMEB ahead. Since the parliamentary committee suggested the government that all the demands raised by Dr. KC would not be fulfilled, he has vowed for another hunger strike stating that planned hunger strike will compel the government to implement its own commitment.
While issuing challenge to resume another hunger strike, he has repeatedly been insisting for the action against 43 officials of Tribhuvan University as per the recommendation of the high level National Medical Education Commission led by former Judge Gauri Bahadur Karki. He repeatedly alleged the government for forgetting the nine-point agreement that was reached with on July 26. As per the agreement, 22 provisions have to be included in the NMEB. However the sub-committee of Education and Health Committee of the federal parliament has not included all the contents of nine-point agreement in NMEB but suggested some contradictory provisions going against the spirit of the past agreements. It seems that the government would not fulfill its own promises made with Dr KC, thanks to the vested interests of some medical education entrepreneurs. However, the people in general have widely been raising a striking question over the earnestness of the incumbent Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chairperson KP Sharma Oli led government for repeatedly been pushing the ageing orthopedic surgeon to another round of hunger strike by going against of its own commitment.
The government has been mulling the idea to draft another Bill to end in the pretext of discouraging the private investment even in school education in seven years’ time. However, the plan contradicts with the recent decision of the Minister for Education, Science and Technology that more than 500 affiliations under TU and around 358 affiliations under CTEVT have already been granted to private colleges. Though the blame of commercialization of the education sector including the medical education does not necessarily solely go to the incumbent government but the previous too, the government head NCP largely drags into controversies for backing the private medical colleges without caring for basic standards. As the government has stand against of the past agreement signed with Dr KC, it is obvious for the criticism.
The government should not have signed in the agreement with Dr KC if there was not possible to implement the provisions of the nine point agreements. As Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli himself had promised to address his demands in the aftermath of his 15th strike, the he should not allow his minister to indulge in any act that could potentially serve interests of private college operators at the cost of public education going against the spirit of the past agreements. The government, particularly the PM Oli, should take responsibility if aging orthopedic Dr KC was pushed for yet another hunger strike demanding implementation of the past agreements.