Dhangadhi: Lekhraj Bhatta, the CPN-UML Central Secretary and in-charge of Karnali Province, has raised concerns over the hindrances faced during the establishment of the Martyr Dashrath Chand Health Sciences University in Geta, attributing the obstacles to the influence of a medical mafia and the reluctance of those in power. According to Bhatta, the initiative to construct a medical university in Geta was set in motion during the tenure of UML President KP Sharma Oli as Prime Minister but came to a halt following the downfall of the government.
Speaking at a press conference organized by Press Chautari Kailali in Attariya on Monday, Secretary Bhatta revealed that under the leadership of UML and then-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, an all-party meeting was convened, resulting in a unanimous decision to establish the Shaheed Dashrath Chand National Health Sciences University. However, Bhatta expressed caution regarding the budget allocation, as the decision made by the Council of Ministers might be reversed.
"We held an all-party meeting and engaged in discussions with Prime Minister Prachanda, reaching a decision to establish the university through the cabinet. The Prime Minister also made a public announcement about it. However, when the decision reached the budget allocation phase via policies and programs, it was treated merely as an institution," stated Bhatta. He further asserted that an illusion had been created, suggesting that the decision made in the Cabinet meeting could not be overturned. Bhatta clarified that as the House of Representatives holds greater authority than the Cabinet, the decision would be subject to change once the budget is passed.
Bir Bahadur Balayar, a member of the House of Representatives from Nepali Congress representing Kailali Region No. 4, expressed the opinion that a university was unnecessary in parliament. Additionally, Narayanadatta Bhatt, the chairman of Kailali, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing that government officials were obstructing the construction of the medical university. Bhatta made it clear that he was not singling out any particular individuals, but rather highlighting the attempts made by mafias to impede the establishment of the medical university.
"I heard parliamentarians from the ruling party deliver speeches in the House expressing their disinterest in the university," Bhatta stated. "The finance minister stated that institutes, medical colleges, and universities are essentially the same. This indicates either a lack of knowledge or a deliberate attempt to feign ignorance. We need to unite people under the categories of health science institutes, medical colleges, and universities, setting aside political affiliations, to successfully establish a university," Bhatta added.
He emphasized that CPN-UML remained steadfast in its commitment to constructing Geta Medical University and warned that if the government continued to ignore their concerns, they would be compelled to intensify their protests, taking the struggle from parliamentary proceedings to the streets. Bhatta also shared his personal involvement, stating that he had closely worked with Shankaracharya, who purchased the land in 2044 BS with the intention of establishing a medical college. In 2065 BS, Bhatta independently studied the medical college concept, assumed the role of executive director, and initiated construction work. Following the press conference, Secretary Bhatta conducted an on-site inspection of Geta Medical College.