May 29, 2017 12:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 29: Dr Govinda KC, professor at Institute of Medicine (IOM), is starting hunger strike in Dang district from Monday.
"The government has asked us to wait till 2 pm Monday," said Kishore KC, brother of Dr KC. "Officials have assured us that they would express commitment in writing by tomorrow to implement Dr KC's demands," he added.
Dr KC, senior orthopedic surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, shifted the hunger strike venue to Dang after the TU Teaching Hospital warned him not to make the hospital a protest venue, according to the sources at the Ministry of Health (MoH).
However, Dr KC, who is preparing to stage his latest, 11th, fast-unto-death at Sirdi Sai Mandir in Dang, said that he went to Dang for hunger strike to create pressure for the establishment of Rapti Institute of Health Sciences (RIHS) in Dang. "The government had already agreed to set up a medical college here but it has done nothing toward that end till now," he added.
According to the MoH, the government has already disbursed Rs 250 million for the construction of the buildings for the RIHS. "Additional Rs 10 million has been allocated for administrative support and Rs 4 million has been disbursed for upgrading the Rapti Hospital with necessary equipment," said Jeevan Bhandari, press advisor to Health Minister Gagan Thapa. "The Rapti Hospital will become a medical college after a related bill is approved from parliament. The bill is currently in the bills committee of the cabinet awaiting government approval," he added.
Dr KC extended his ultimatum on May 23 for three days and decided to stage his 11th fast-unto-death from May 27. However, KC again postponed his strike till Sunday after Minister Thapa told him that the government was addressing his demands including the withdrawal of the impeachment against Chief Justice Sushila Karki.
Dr KC on May 17 had issued a six-day ultimatum to the govenrment to address his two demands -- withdrawal of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice, and implementation of the past agreements including introduction of a long overdue Medical Education Act within six days. The parties that brought the impeachment motion against Karki are reportedly in the process to withdraw it.
Some parliamentarians from the Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center) had registered impeachment against Chief Justice Sushila Karki last month.
"The government and ministers lied to me with false assurances. So I am determined to stage strike from today," said Dr KC.
Dr KC began his 10th fast-unto-death from November 13 against anarchy prevailing in the medical education sector and it ended in three weeks after another agreement with the government. KC ended his 10th hunger strike following a 12-point agreement with the government representatives on December 4.
The agreement includes bringing Medical Education Act, implementing past agreements, stopping issuance of affiliation to private medical colleges until the introduction of a new medical act, ending commercialization in medical education, forming panel to probe irregularities in the medical sector, opening one government medical college each in all seven provinces, and taking action against Tribhuvan University officials involved in allowing irregularties in the medical education sector.