KATHMANDU: A sub-committee of the parliamentary National Disaster Management, Monitoring and Direction Special Committee formed to study the foodstuff distributed in Laprak of Gorkha has found that the rice distributed by the World Fd Programme was of inferior quality.
The three-member sub-committee led by lawmaker Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal submitted its report to Special Committee Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang today. The sub-committee includes Usha Gurung and Daljit BK Shripali as members. Section officer of the Parliament Secretariat Keshav Aryal assisted the sub-committee. In its 23-point recommendations and findings, the sub-committee has stated that 457 sacks of rice were edible while 120 sacks of rice were found rotten and foul smelling and therefore they were not distributed. The rice was rotten even before it was ferried to Laprak.
The sub-committee has said that there was no presence of government bodies to monitor and that ineffective government mechanism in the districts put people’s health at risk.
“When a joint team of party representatives and agriculture body suggested to the WFP not to distribute the substandard rice at Majuwa Deurali of Gorkha after inspecting the relief materials, WFP representatives said ‘that standard of rice would be sufficient for Gorkha people’,” the report states.
The report also revealed that Lactogen packets distributed for 6- to 23-month-old children were expired.
The sub-committee has recommended that the government distribute relief materials only after necessary inspection from the authorised bodies. After conducting tests on the samples of the WFP rice in question, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control had found that foodstuff was inedible and it had moulds.
The sub-committee has also suggested that the government store some 4,100 metric tonnes of rice for Gorkha before monsoon and that MI-17 helicopters were essential to transport relief materials to nine VDCs of Gorkha including Lyoho, Prok, Bihi, Chunchet, Samagaon, Chhekampar, Sirdibas, Ueeya and Kerouja because these places are not linked by roads.
Another sub-committee under the Special Committee was sent to Nepalgunj to inspect a WFP godown from where foodstuff was transported to different parts of the affected districts including Gorkha.
The sub-committee led by lawmaker Sanjay Kumar Gautam had recommended that the Special Committee make necessary directive to government for stern action against those involved in the supply of substandard food and let the international organisations work under the existing laws and make their activities transparent. The sub-committee found that the WFP godown in Nepalgunj was storing 541 metric tonnes of inedible and substandard lentils which were supposed to be returned.
A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.