The Cabinet has decided to scrap two hospitals named after two former prime ministers — Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil Koirala — both leaders of the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, who had made immense contribution in nation-building.
In April 2010, the Ministry of Health and Population had proposed to set up 100-bed GP Koirala National Centre for Respiratory Diseases in Dulegauda, Tanahun. It received Cabinet approval in May and the government has already acquired 700-ropani land for the hospital.
In February, the Cabinet had decided to open Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital in Khajura, Banke. DPM and Minister of Health and Population Upendra Yadav had inaugurated the out-patient department at the hospital in June. Both the hospitals are in operation.
Although the Ministry of Health and Population had forwarded names of 11 hospitals, including the two above-mentioned hospitals, to the Cabinet to bring them under the purview of the federal government, a recent Cabinet meeting approved only nine, excluding the two in the name of the Koiralas.
GP Koirala played a crucial role in ending the decade-long armed conflict by bringing the Maoists to the peace process, while the constitution was promulgated under the prime ministership of Sushil Koirala.
Health Ministry Secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said the ministry had no option but to abide by the Cabinet decision. “The Cabinet, not the ministry, decided to scrap these hospitals,” he said. “The Cabinet decision not to approve these two hospitals means they are automatically scrapped. So I approved the dissolution process accordingly.”
The Indian government has also pledged to extend support to GP Koirala hospital. “The two sides reached an agreement in principle for Indian grant assistance to support the establishment of technical institute in the Far-west and GP Koirala National Centre for Respiratory Diseases in Tanahun,” read the joint statement issued by the two governments at the end of the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s state visit to India from 23 to 27 August 2017.