NFC plays hookey, hill-folk go hungry

Kathmandu, March 7:

The western hill district of Bajura, Bajhang and Dolpa are facing acute shortage of food due to the negligence of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC). The NFC’s regional offices have stocks of rice but even so nearly 22,000 people are affected by food shortage.

“None of the districts

has shortage of rice, except Upper Dolpa”, said general manager of NFC Beni Bahadur Rawal.

According to Rawal, NFC’s depots at two district’s headquarters have adequate rice — 3,000 quintals each. In addition to these, the NFC’s far-west regional office at Dhangadhi has 40,000 quintals of rice in stock.

NFC is planning to send rice to Upper Dolpa via Tibet but the process has not begun yet. “We will send rice from Kathmandu to Upper Dolpa via Tibet from next month,” he added. Upper Dolpa has been facing food scarcity as China is strictly controlling the Nepal-Tibet border since the last month.

China is keeping a hawk’s eye on the border to prevent any protest on the occasion of 50 years of Chinese rule in Tibet. The clampdown has also affected life in the eastern hill districts but the food situation in the east is better than that in the west.

Meanwhile, Japan donated 7,101 metric tonnes of rice to NFC for distribution in the food deficit districts of far-western and mid-western hills. Japanese ambassador to Nepal Tatsuo Mizuno handed the authority letter to Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS) secretary Puoshottam Ojha in a programme yesterday.

The rice donated under Food Aid to Nepal KR-2007 has to be distributed through NFC under two different schemes: to feed people in food deficit areas and to regularize the market price.

Sixty per cent of the rice will go to far-western and mid-western hills and the 20 per cent rice sent to Kathmandu will be used to regularize the market price.