Sat, 20 Apr, 2024

Stand for What You Believe is Right!

By Ashma Pokharel

Photo: Nobel Medical College - 'Hamro Shram ko Samman, Santipurna Abhiyan'

Educational Institute / College- A large tree and Student-Fruits; students are the future outcomes of educational institutes / colleges in the same way as fruits are the outcomes of trees.

I am a medical student of NOBEL MEDICAL COLLEGE, BIRATNAGAR currently studying BDS (Bachelor in Dental Surgery) in 2nd year. This article is about 15 days strike in NOBEL MEDICAL COLLEGE by the intern doctors, related to their salary and about their security deposit money.

The 1st day, when I entered the main gate of hospital I was surprised to see the crowd of intern doctors sitting on the floor with pamphlets on their hands in front of the OPD (Out Patient Department). It was about their salary and the security deposit money. Intern doctors are those doctors who have passed out the final year exams of MBBS and are inclined to work on the same hospital for one year as per the rule of NMC (NEPAL MEDICAL COUNCIL). In Nepal, there are various medical colleges and every college provides some amount of salary to the intern doctors of their college. The salary of intern doctors may vary from one college to another.

Nobel medical college used to provide a salary of about NRs. 3000, which was very low compared to their work, to the intern doctors. They had been requesting the college administration for increment in their salary but the college administration didn’t pay any attention towards their request; even the money that had been charged to the students as security deposit was not paid back to them.

[caption id="attachment_7378" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Students resorting to peaceful strike Students resorting to peaceful strike[/caption]

It was time for them to raise their voice so that they could gain all their rights against the college administration. It is so because if we don’t stand for our rights, then nobody will. On the very 1st day, the protest went peacefully. Hospital, administration and academy weren’t affected by the protest. But this incident did not shake a single leaf of the big tree. As there was no response from the college side, the intern doctors continued their strike. On the 2nd day, the intern doctors raised their voice again but instead of any positive result they got threatened by the college MD (Managing Director) that they would not get a chance to appear NMC exam and the students staying at hostel wouldn’t be allowed to enter the hostel. However, as it is said that million drops of water together can make an ocean, in the same way, many number of intern doctors standing together holding hands didn't back off. They were continuously raising their voice against administration even though college administration wasn’t giving any response. There was no ray of light they could see that would lead them to their destination. Hostel students weren’t allowed to enter the hostel premises so the students were forced to sleep on the college ground.

[caption id="attachment_7379" align="aligncenter" width="870"]Students sleeping on the college ground Students sleeping on the college ground[/caption]

They continued their peaceful strike but thought that if there was no effect to the college administration, the college administration will not speak even a single word on favor of their demands. So then, the strike named "SHANTIPURNA ANDOLAN"(Peaceful Strike) was taken a step forward. All the academics and the OPD's of hospital were closed. They believed that if the hospital was affected then the college administration would surely listen to their words as they were not even paid a little attention. However, the administration instead of making agreement with them called the NEPAL POLICE so that they could open OPD service of the hospital. Many students were injured during 'lathi charge' by police and 20 students were taken on the custody of police.

[caption id="attachment_7376" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Police arrived in the college after the NMC Managing Director called them Police arrived in the college after the NMC Managing Director called them[/caption]

Now the strike named "SHANTIPURNA ANDOLAN" had took a new way. The college MD Mr. Sunil Kumar Sharma in spite of listening to the voice of students, even without a single meeting, went to Kathmandu for no reason. However, the student didn't step backward. Despite of many troubles they continued their strike with every possible way they could. They were supported by their juniors and teachers too; in a way, entire college was with them. It is obvious that right things will always get support and they were stronger to stand together, but the college administration played a game and used the strategy of closing the college so that they would themselves back off from the strike. The patients in the hospital were shifted to other hospital, all wards were emptied, the mess and canteen were asked to close, hostel water supply and electricity were cut off, and 15 faculty members were asked to resign immediately from the college. This would cause interns to be delayed from giving exams, and juniors would not be able to give university exam and so on.

They knew that the college administration was playing a cheap game with them; hence they wrote an open letter to Vice Chairman of KU (Kathmandu University), prime minister, education minister, NMC and all other concerned authorities by writing down all the problems that they were facing and about the solution. It is said that 'Hard work always pays off’. KU (Kathmandu University) came up with the rule to provide salary of NRs. 10,000 to every intern student of the medical college running under KU. It was the matter of happiness not only for the student of Nobel medical college but every intern student working under KU.

On the one hand, interns were happy that their struggle was paid off and brought a revolution not only for the current intern doctors under KU but also for the upcoming juniors. However, on the other hand, they got information from the MD of the college that he had lost around 5 crores during the strike which had to be paid by interns themselves. This meant that the interns were not able to get even a single penny working whole year for the hospital.

They continued their strike with the hope again. It was 14th day of strike. Finally, they saw a ray of the hope. College MD promised to arrange a meeting with them on the next day. On the 15th day of strike, after three hours of meeting, their demands were fulfilled. They were so happy that they did not have to pay any compensation as the MD said that they were their children and it’s a responsibility of parents to bring them on the right path.

Therefore, I want to say that we should always fight for our rights and stand on the right side no matter what consequences might occur because if we are right then the result will surely be on our favor. Stand for what you believe is right!

Photo Courtesy: Nobel Medical College

(Author Biography: Ashma Pokharel is a BDS second year student at NMC.)