Dr Govinda KC putting his signature on a press statement Friday at the TU Teaching Hospital announcing deferral of his fast-unto-death until after the Dashain festival. Friday was the 12th day of his ninth fast-unto-death. He is a tireless crusador for vital reforms in medical education in Nepal.(Deepak Dahal/Republica)
Says doesn’t wish to dampen Dashain mood
KATHMANDU, Oct 7: Dr Govinda KC interrupted his ninth hunger strike unilaterally on Friday, after 12 days of unsuccessful negotiations with the government.
Dr KC’s team and the government had tried to reach an agreement till late on Friday, but to no avail. Stating that his hunger strike would only dampen the festive mood of the people, Dr KC announced postponement of the fast-unto-death.
He, however, said he would resume the hunger strike once the Dashain festival is over. “I haven’t ended my fight. But I am calling it off because it might dampen the festive mood of the people. I’ll resume my hunger strike at once after Dashain is over,” said Dr KC, addressing a press conference late Friday evening.
While announcing his hunger strike postponement, Dr KC added a new demand. He has called for the termination of Tribhuwan University Vice Chancellor Dr Tirtha Khaniya’s term.
One of Dr KC’s demands is appointment of the senior-most faculty member as dean of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH). As per Dr KC’s demand, Dr Jagdish Agrawal should have been appointed dean.
However, VC Khaniya has been delaying the appointment, pointing out that Agrawal is being investigated by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Dr KC has argued that Khaniya failed to uphold his responsibilities and has demanded his termination.
Dr KC, a senior orthopedic surgeon at TUTH, had begun his ninth hunger strike on September 26, demanding implementation of past agreements, passage of the new medical education bill by the ongoing session of parliament, impeachment of Chief Commissioner of CIAA Lokman Singh Karki and CIAA Commissioner Raj Narayan Pathak, and implementation of the medical fee structure proposed by the Mathema Commission.
Despite massive support from the public, the government has not shown keen interest in addressing Dr KC’s demands. The government is reportedly planning to end the parliamentary session before addressing his demands. Likewise, there has not been any headway in impeaching the CIAA chief and its commissioner.
Dr KC’s past demands include gradual reduction in the number of seats at medical colleges to 100 within the next three years and fixing the MBBS fees at Rs 3.5 million. This week, however, a panel formed to review the MBBS fees recommended against reducing the number of seats, citing the heavy investments made in medical colleges. The panel stated that fewer seats would cause the MBBS fees to go up.