Gandaki Medical College officials, who are accused of fleecing students, still at large

2019-03-25

The Kathmandu Post


- NAYAK PAUDEL, KATHMANDU, Nine administrative officials of Gandaki Medical College, including college chairman Khuma Prasad Aryal, are still on the run even weeks after a forgery case was filed against them at the Kaski District Court by the students.

Students have accused the college officials of charging them more than the fee fixed by the government. More than 50 students, pursuing medical courses at the college, had filed complaints against 11 college officials at the Kaski District Police. Following the complaints, Kaski Police had registered a forgery case against those individuals at the Kaski District Court on March 5.

However, Aryal and eight others–Principal Rabeendra Prasad Shrestha; Chief Administrative Officer Krishna Ghimire; Finance Controller Yubraj Sharma; Account Officials Hari Maya Poudel and Dinesh Poudel; Store-keeper Krishna Poudel and Staffers Bishworaj Ghimire and Tilak Poudel–have been on the run after police issued an arrest warrant.

“The nine officials who have been absconding are being searched across the country. The other two are in judicial custody,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Rabindra Man Gurung, spokesperson for Kaski Police, told the Post.
Kaski Police has already arrested college’s Chief Executive Officer Santosh Khanal and Exam Controller Laxman Prasad Sharma and presented them before the court.

On March 7, Aryal, along with five others, had filed a petition at Pokhara High Court demanding the termination of the arrest warrant issued against them. However, the court quashed the petition. According to police, the Central Investigation Bureau is also searching for those on the run. 

“Following a request from Kaski Police, we are also assisting in the search operation. If the fleeing individuals have crossed the border, we will intensify our search further,” Deputy Inspector General Niraj Bahadur Sahi, chief of the bureau, told the Post. The officials are on the run at a time when the Education Ministry has directed all the medical colleges to return the additional amount–if they have charged–to the students within a month.

On Thursday, Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel had called Tribhuvan University officials, dean of the Institute of Medicine, representatives of student unions and students of Gandaki Medical College as well as medical college operators and issued a directive to return the extra amount they had charged to the students.

Pokhrel had called the meeting after the offices of the vice-chancellor of the Tribhuvan University and dean of the Institute of Medicine were padlocked by student wings of the ruling Nepal Communist Party. The student wings had padlocked the offices saying there was lack of concern by the authorities against the medical college charging extra fees.

The students of Gandaki Medical College had protested and padlocked the college and hospital for one and a half months. The students had demanded action against the college officials and return of the extra money they had been charged. 

“Two officials of the college are in custody while others have fled. We are not sure who will return us the extra fee,” Anit Sinha, a 2016-batch MBBS student of the college, told the Post. “Even after the money is returned, the administration should face legal action.”

After the ministry’s directive, any medical student can demand the extra fee charged by their respective colleges by showing proof. Tribhuvan University officials have said that they will be taking action against the colleges if they do not return the extra fee to the students.

House panel directs government to enforce approved fees for MBBS, BDS Kathmandu: The Education and Health Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the government to enforce and cause to enforce the fee scheme determined for the MBBS and BDS programmes under the faculty of medical sciences. 

On October 14 last year, the Council of Ministers had fixed Rs 3.85 million for the MBBS programme inside the Kathmandu Valley and Rs 4.24 million outside the Valley. Similarly, the fee for the BDS programme was set at Rs 1.93 million. The ministry had directed universities and academic institutes to bring the decision into practice. 

The committee instructed the ministry to ensure the implementation of the decision, citing that it had remained unimplemented. In the meeting, committee Chairperson Jaypuri Gharti stressed the need of addressing the complaints that medical colleges were charging more than the determined ceiling as soon as possible. 

Joint Secretary at the ministry Dr Hari Lamsal said they were facing technical snag to receive exact details of medical colleges which have been charging more than the fees fixed by the government. Pointing out that medical colleges are imposing exorbitant fee on students, committee member Khagaraj Adhikari underlined the need of forming a parliamentary body to probe the issue. Another member Gagan Thapa questioned why medical colleges defied the medical fees schedule fixed by the government. 

Lawmakers Hit Bahadur Tamang, Man Kumari GC and Santa Bahadur Tharu sought the government’s attention to bring medical education into the access of meritorious students from the poor community. (RSS)