Talks ‘positive’ but much still left to agree
Talks between the representatives of senior orthopaedic surgeon Prof Dr Govinda KC and the government panel led by Govind Pokhrel, CEO of the National Reconstruction Authority, have ended on ‘positive note’, both sides claimed on Thursday.
The dialogue between Pokhrel and over a dozen medical staff representing Dr KC, led by Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) Dean Dr Rakesh Srivastav, headed into the positive line after the former assured that the report on Health Education Profession Policy would be implemented without “distortion”. Dr KC has been on a hunger strike for the past 11 days, demanding full implementation of the policy formulated by a panel led by former TU vice-chancellor Kedar Bhakta Mathema.
The report has made many recommendations, including withholding operating licence to run medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for 10 years, opening new government medical colleges in areas outside the Valley, limiting the number of students on MBBS course to 100 and fixing the tuition fee to Rs 3.5 million. However, a government panel amended several provisions of the policy creating loopholes, which according to Dr KC, is a ploy to provide affiliations to Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, National Medical College and People’s Dental College. “The meeting was very positive and I am optimistic that the problem will be resolved very soon,” Pokhrel said.
The discussion on Thursday centered around the first of eight-point charter of demands related to the full implementation of the Mathema report. The resignation and action against Education Minister, commissioners from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) are among other demands. “The meeting was positive but many issues are yet to be addressed,” said Dr YP Singh, who attended the meeting on behalf of DR KC. He informed that the meeting was inconclusive as Pokhrel lamented that taking action against minister and CIAA commissioners was beyond his jurisdiction. While the government can book the minister, it has no authority to take action against the CIAA commissioners.