KATHMANDU, Dec 17: The government has acted as if it is working to address one of his demands on the eve of the deadline given by Dr. Govinda KC to begin his 16th hunger strike.
A government panel headed by Dr. Shree Krishna Giri of Bir Hospital reached Jumla on Saturday, just two days before Dr. KC’s 16th hunger strike deadline expires, “for a study on beginning the MBBS course” at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) in Jumla. Dr. KC is set to begin his 16th hunger strike from Monday.
The other members of the panel are Kedar Prasad Acharya of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Bishnu Prasad Mishra, an official of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and Rajendra Raj Wagle, vice chancellor of KAHS.
Starting the MBBS course at KAHS is one of Dr. KC’s nine demands the government had agreed to address before the veteran orthopedic surgeon at the Institute of Medicine (IoM) agreed to end his 15th fast-unto-death on July 26.
“We are now in Jumla to carry out a study on the issue,” said Dr. Giri. “We will submit our report to the MoEST in a week or two,” he added.
On November 26, Dr KC who has been blaming the government for working for the mafia and middlemen instead of the ordinary people issued a three-week ultimatum to the government to stage his 16th hunger strike from December 17 if the government didn’t implement the nine-point agreement reached with him on July 26, on the 27th day of his 15th fast-unto-death.
The other agreements in the nine-point govt-Dr KC deal include the formation of a high-level commission and formulation of the Medical Education Act. Dr. KC has gone on hunger strikes for 190 days from 2012 to July 26, 2018, demanding reforms in the health sector.
In the nine-point agreement reached with Dr. KC on July 26, the government had agreed to address all of his demands “within 15 days to two months”. However, almost five months have shot by and the government has started the process to address just one of his demands.
The government is yet to address his major demands including the enactment of the Medical Education Act and taking action against 43 officials implicated by the report of former justice Gauri Bahadur Karki for their involvement in irregularities while issuing affiliation to private medical colleges.