KATHMANDU, July 18: Instead of addressing the demands raised by Dr Govinda KC, the senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on the 18th day of his fast-unto-death, the government seems only interested in bringing him to Kathmandu.
"The government has not shown much interest in addressing the problems raised by Dr KC," said Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, member of the talks team from Dr KC's side. "Every time, the government representatives talked about bringing Dr KC to Kathmandu from Jumla, where he has been staging his hunger strike for 18 days now," said Dr Singh. "However, Dr KC rejected the government's proposal and demanded that his concerns be addressed first," he added. "It seems the government is not serious about resolving the problem."
Talks held on Monday between the government and Dr KC's team ended inconclusively after the latter rejected the government's proposal to bring him to Kathmandu from Jumla. Dr KC's team demanded withdrawal of the Medical Education Bill registered in parliament before bringing him to Kathmandu.
The government team is headed by MoEST Secretary Khaga Raj Baral, Joint-secretary Kedar Neupane of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Dr Guna Raj Lohani, director general of the Department of Public Health Services. The talks team representing Dr KC includes Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, senior advocate Surendra Bhandari, advocate Om Prakash Aryal and a representative from Nepal Medical Association (NMA).
Dr KC has also demanded the government withdraw the Medical Education Bill registered in parliament. The bill has changed major provisions of the Medical Education Ordinance issued earlier. Dr KC has insisted on bringing a Medical Education Act that embodies the Medical Education Ordinance without making any changes to it. The ordinance has provisioned 75 percent scholarships in government medical colleges and restriction on opening new private medical colleges in Kathmandu for 10 years.
Secretary Baral said that they have given priority to bringing Dr KC to Kathmandu for his treatment. "His condition is very serious. If the weather changes, a plane or helicopter cannot be used to evacuate him from remote Jumla," said Baral. "We are unable to assure them about withdrawal of the bill but can communicate Dr KC's message to the government," he added. "All of his demands may not be addressed. He should compromise on some."
Baral further said that they were holding discussions with the government about the demands. "We can sit for another round of talks this evening or tomorrow morning," he said.
NMA on Monday announced a halt to all services except emergency at health facilities across the country from Thursday unless Dr KC's demands are addressed. Meanwhile, health workers in different parts of the country continued their protests against the government, demanding fulfilment of Dr KC's demands.