UML warns of stopping medical education bill

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CPN-UML has warned of stopping the medical education bill if changes were made to the amendment made by the Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament.

Speaking in the meeting convened at Singha Durbar on Thursday to forge consensus on the bill, UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey warned that UML will make sure that the bill fails if the bill were not moved forward in accordance to the report prepared by the parliamentary committee.

Nepali Congress (NC) and the government have been saying that the report of the parliamentary committee should be amended by the parliament to address the demands of Dr Govinda KC who is into his 13th fast unto death. But UML and CPN (Maoist Center) are against the NC proposal.

UML lawmaker Pandey claimed that the bill is being moved forward with the sole aim of obstructing Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences. Maoist Center lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari, who was also present in the meeting convened by Speaker Onsari Gharti, said Pandey fumed that the bill will not be passed if it were amended. "We are ready for confrontation if needed. We are ready to do anything," Bidari quoted Pandey as saying. "Our lawmaker Dhaniram Paudel also said that the bill should be moved forward as per due process," Bidari added.

Maoist lawmakers pointed how BAFIA, education and other bills in the past were amended by the respective parliamentary committees, and said the process should be followed even now.

NC lawmaker and former health minister Gagan Thapa argued that all the decisions of parliamentary committees are not binding, and there would not have been a need to present bills in the full House if it were so.

Dr KC has been demanding a ban on opening of new medical colleges in the Kathmandu Valley for 10 years, and a single university providing affiliation to more than five medical colleges but UML and Maoist Center are against that.  

Speaker Gharti did not include the bill in the schedule even on Thursday saying additional discussions will be held to reach consensus. The government is adamant that the bill should be passed on Friday. Speaker Gharti is planning to convene the final meeting on this parliament on Friday.

The mandate of the current House expires on the day nominations for the next parliamentary elections are filed. Nominations will be filed on October 21, according to the schedule of Election Commission.

The medical education bill, drafted due to the movement of Dr KC, was initially prepared to prohibit opening of new medical colleges in the Kathmandu Valley for 10 years but the Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare Committee of the parliament had tampered with it and created loopholes to allow affiliation for the medical colleges that have already acquired letter of intent.

The medical education bill tabled in the parliament by the KP Oli government to address Dr KC's demands was passed by a subcommittee under the parliamentary committee adding a sentence 'there will, however, be no obstruction in providing affiliation to the educational institutions that have received letter of intent before this act came into force, and meet the requirements for physical infrastructure set by the bodies concerned' to clause 13 of the bill.  

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