Amid growing criticism of the lack of prompt action on Dr Govinda KC’s hunger strike, the government on Tuesday decided not to grant affiliations to medical colleges until the taskforce led by Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema tables its report on a medical education policy, and new rules to govern the sector come into effect.
An emergency Cabinet meeting held at Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s residence in Baluwatar on Tuesday afternoon, however, remained non-committal on other demands of Dr KC that include dismissal of the education minister, officials involved in granting medical affiliations from Kathmandu University and office bearers of the Tribhuvan University and the National Medical Council.
But the Cabinet decided to form a commission to investigate issues related to affiliations. “The government will implement the recommendations of the commission,” the Cabinet stated.
“The attention of the office bearers of Tribhuvan and Kathmandu Universities will be drawn on Dr KC’s demand for their resignation,” read a statement of the Cabinet decision.
Dr Yogendra Singh, who sat for talks on Dr KC’s behalf, said they are close to an agreement and the crisis might end by Wednesday. “The talks are going in positive direction. We welcome today’s decision but fulfilment of the commitments is a must,” Dr Singh told the Post on Tuesday night.
NMA President Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, however, said the government’s assurances would not be enough as they had been deceived in the past. “We cannot fight again and again for the same cause. The government should convince us as we won’t give up the fight easily this time,” he said.
The government fully authorised National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Govinda Pokhrel and Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal to hold talks with Dr KC and address his demands as per the laws and established principles.
Irrigation Minister NP Saud said the talks team was authorised to reach an agreement on all the demands except the resignation of some officials.
Highly-placed sources said the Cabinet was divided over the way to address the issues. Some ministers from the both ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML were in favour of issuing new affiliations.
“As the Cabinet remained divided, the government failed to take a concrete decision,” said a minister.
Doctors negotiating on behalf of Dr KC with the government said the senior orthopaedic surgeon has asked for an official copy of the Cabinet decision.
Posted at: Ekantipur