Nepali Times

Solidarity for KC

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
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Pic: Bikram Rai

As the government has failed to address the demands of Govinda KC, who is into the fourteenth day of his fast-unto-death, thousands of supporters gathered at Maitighar Mandala on Saturday.

The solidarity rally was organised to apply pressure on the government to save the life of KC by meeting his demands. KC is a senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, who has been demanding massive reforms in Nepal’s medical sector.

The campaigner’s eighth fast-unto-death also demands the impeachment of the Commission of the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Chief Lokman Singh Karki, accusing him of meddling in Kathmandu University’s medical entrance exams in May and also of protecting the corrupt.

The Good Governance and Monitoring Committee of the Parliament on Friday summoned the officials of the anti-graft body, including Karki, to question them regarding the alleged interference in the university’s entrance exams.

A meeting between the government and KC’s representatives on Friday ended inconclusively as they could not agree on withdrawing the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences Bill tabled in the Parliament. One of KC’s demands is that the bill be withdrawn and the Manmohan Memorial Institute’s properties be purchased by the government and transferred to the government-owned Bir Hospital.

Representatives, from various organisations, youths, and doctors including students participated in the mass rally and chanted slogans such as ‘It is all clear, the corrupt are the ones at the CIAA.’ The mass rally went on for almost four hours and concluded with a corner meeting in New Baneshwor.


No confidence

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
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The house session on Friday night. Photo: RSS

CPN (Maoist-Centre) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal tabled a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister KP Oli in Parliament on Friday night.

Delivering a long speech in Parliament before tabling the motion, Dahal accused Oli of ‘using the Maoists as a ladder to serve his own interests’ and ‘conspiring to weaken the Maoists’.

“We did not want to break this coalition, but we had to take this step because of PM Oli himself,” said Dahal. “He showed an ego-centric and self-centred attitude.”

Dahal also dubbed Oli an ‘anti-federalist’ and ‘averse to republicanism and principles of inclusion’. “PM Oli has publicly said that he never liked the idea of federalism, and he was compelled to embrace it,” said Dahal. “In the last nine months, we realised that he does not even support republicanism and inclusion, and likes those political forces that want to revive the monarchy.”

Dahal himself had proposed Oli as the new Prime Minister in October last year. With the withdrawal of support by Dahal, the Oli government has now been reduced to a caretaker, and will be replaced by a new ruling coalition next week.

Dahal has already reached an agreement with NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba to lead the new government. Madhesi parties, irked by Oli’s indifference towards their grievances, have vowed to support the Dahal-Deuba coalition.

Backed by Deuba, Dahal had filed a no-confidence motion against Oli last week. But he could only table it in the House on Friday night, as Parliament had been adjourned three times due a dispute over whether to bring up the no-confidence motion first, or the budget bills.

Oli’s UML party had threatened to disrupt the House if the no-confidence motion were tabled before the budget bills. But the NC and the Maoists wanted to oust Oli before discussing the budget bills. After days of inconclusive negotiations, they agreed to allow the House to discuss the budget bills first. But they have voted against those bills, casting a shadow over the implementation of the new budget.

Parliament is discussing the no-confidence motion for three days. Members of Parliament will vote for or against the motion on Sunday.


House panel to grill Karki

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
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A parliamentary committee has decided to question the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Chief Lokman Singh Karki over his alleged interference in the medical education sector.

The Parliament’s Good Governance and Monitoring Committee will also grill all the Commissioners of the CIAA over this issue.

Orthopaedic surgeon and activist Govinda KC, who has been on a hunger strike demanding reforms in the medical education sector, has accused Karki of overstepping his jurisdiction in interfering in the post-graduate medical science exams of the Kathmandu University, for personal gain. KC has demanded Karki’s impeachment.

After Kathmandu University (KU)’s Registrar Bhola Thapa admitted that the CIAA had dispatched ‘a panel of experts’ to cancel the original exam question papers and finalise the new ones, the Committee decided to question Karki and other commissioners on Sunday.

 


Diverting danger

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
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Pic: Nepal Army

Pic: Nepal Army

From the Nepali Press

BBC Nepali Service, 20 July

Situated in Solukhumbu’s Everest region, the fast-growing Imja Tso glacial lake is considered to be the second-most dangerous glacial lake. To curb the possible threat of a glacial lake outburst flood, the Nepal Army has been implementing a project to reduce the lake’s water level.

Perched at a height of over 4,800 metres, the lake is spread over one kilometre, is 150 metres deep and carries over 70 million litres of water.

With the support of the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and UNDP, the Army is building a canal to transport the lake water and reduce its level by three metres. Experts believe that the risk of the lake bursting will be minimised once the water is transferred.

The 50 m-long canal will divert the lake’s water to merge with the Dudh Koshi river through the Imja river. This risk minimisation initiative — being carried out at an altitude surpassing all previous efforts — is estimated to cost up to $3 million.

The work to carve out the canal started in April this year and will soon be completed, with assistance from the Nepal Army and locals in the area.


Culprits free, innocents charged

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
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From the Nepali Press

Krishna Gyawali in Kantipur, 20 July

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has been interfering incessantly in medical colleges for the past three years.  It has filed cases even in trivial matters that should fall under the purview of departmental action, and overlooked gross violations of procedures. CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki has blatantly protected relatives with involvement in medical education, while persecuting rivals.

Case 1

The CIAA sent a letter to the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) on 26 July 2014. Shortly after, the medical education regulatory body hastily allocated the number of seats for each medical college. An investigation by the Health Ministry later found that the basis and procedure for determining the allocation had not been in accordance with the rules, and recommended action against the regulator. It even pronounced that the NMC’s decision to set aside 135 seats to Kist Medical College in Gwarko — which is partly owned by Balman Singh Karki, the CIAA Chief’s brother — was wrong.  None of the NMC members involved in the decision has been prosecuted.

Case 2 

Jyoti Baniya, an NMC member who protested the seat allocation to medical colleges, had a corruption case filed against him by the CIAA. Baniya went on to monitor Devdaha Medical College in Nawalparasi and suggested reforms. “The CIAA filed a corruption case against me because I protested the seat allocation,” Baniya said. The court later found the accused not guilty, as the CIAA could not furnish proof to back up its allegation.

Case 3

A team of private medical colleges held a secret meeting in Dhulikhel three years ago after a panel of experts submitted a report to the government regarding irregularities in medical colleges. The owners of private medical colleges were in trouble after the formula of one student for six beds was introduced, including a ban on fake faculty members.

Soon after, NMC proposed an amendment, through the Health Ministry, to its regulation, which was immediately passed by the cabinet. Six months later, a new provision was introduced that allowed one student for five beds, and even permitted teachers affiliated to one medical college to work in other medical colleges as well.

Case 4

Former Dean of Tribhuvan University (TU)’s Institute of Medicine (IoM) Rakesh Shrivastav resigned from his post earlier this year due to immense pressure from the CIAA not to implement the government’s decision regarding the tuition fee for admission to the IoM’s MBBS programme. Shrivastav had been appointed Dean after Govinda KC’s hunger strike in 2014 demanding reforms.

The TU has been unable to appoint a new Dean for months. A TU source said: “The vice chancellor couldn’t make up his mind about filling the post, after receiving phone calls from the CIAA and getting instructions not to do anything for now.” The CIAA had plans to punish some senior officials at the IoM before appointing a new dean, the source said. The controversial Karbir Nath Yogi is likely to be in the Dean’s seat after receiving the green light from the CIAA.


Saudi blood money

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
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saudiFrom the Nepali Press

Nagarik, 6 July

A court in Saudi Arabia has demanded 300,000 riyal (Rs 9 million) in blood money from a Nepali driver from Kavre accused of killing a Pakistani in a traffic accident. Ramchandra Timilisina of Kushadevi will have to face the death penalty if he cannot manage the money.

Timilsina had gone to Saudi Arabia to pay off a Rs 600,000 debt and to educate his children. He has been in Hayal Central Jail for the past 15 months.

Timilsina has maintained that his truck had been loaded with cement from Jabirah Hayal Cement Company and was parked within the company’s premises when a vehicle driven by the Pakistani ran into his truck.

“It was their fault, but they planted an alcohol bottle in my truck and got me arrested,” Timilsina told relatives over the phone. In Nepal, Timilsina drove a minibus on the Panauti-Kathmandu route, and said he is a teetotaler.

The Nepal Embassy in Riyadh has been of no help, and Timilsina’s family back home is desperate to raise the money. He has two sons, aged five and seven. His wife Sarita has been living in a temporary shelter after the earthquake, for which she borrowed Rs 50,000.

Translated by Samman Humagain

 


Solidarity with KC

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
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Representatives of various political parties, student unions and civil society groups on Tuesday formed a broad alliance, expressing solidarity with the demands raised by Govinda KC.

KC, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, has been on an indefinite hunger strike for the last 10 days, demanding that the Medical Education Bill be passed after the major points of the report prepared by the Mathema Committee are incorporated.  He also seeks the impeachment of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Chair Lokman Singh Karki for ‘interfering in the medical education sector by overstepping his jurisdiction’.

The alliance considers KC’s demands as reflecting a popular agenda, and will take all possible measures in order to put additional pressure on the government to address the demands. The alliance is holding a protest rally in Kathmandu this Saturday.

Former Prime Minister and Naya Shakti Party’s President Baburam Bhattarai has joined the alliance, which is led by Jiban Chhetri, one of KC’s confidants. However, leaders of the major political parties are not participating in it. In a statement on Tuesday, Chhetri said anyone who supports KC’s demands could join the alliance.


 

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