Black-marketing rampant in rice sales in Bajura's rural municipality

BAJURA: Black marketing of rice -- transported by Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) of the Government of Nepal to remote areas -- has been taking place through depot contractors in Bajura district.

It has been revealed that contractors at Kawadi depot and Dhulachaur temporary sales unit of NFC, located at Ward 4 of Himali Rural Municipality in the district, have been charging unregulated prices while selling rice to the locals.

Local Gorakh Bahadur Sarki shared that a type of rice, which should cost them Rs 1,550 per 30 kilograms (kgs) as per NFC regulated rate, is actually being sold at an increased cost of Rs 1,625.

Though the depot and temporary sales unit are under the Corporation, due to lack of government employees, it has been provisioned that contractors carry out the sales in coordination with the local body and police.

However, another local Ajaya Bahadur Malla stated that the contractors are carrying out rice sales without any kind of coordination with the related entities. He said that he too purchased 60 kgs of rice at the rate of Rs 1,625 per 30 kgs.

"Information regarding the rice being sold at a higher price than fixed by the food corporation has reached us," said Chief District Officer Chetraj Baral, adding that he has directed District Police Office, Bajura to bring the contractors under custody to carry out investigations. Likewise, Baral said that he has also asked NFC's Bajura branch to find out exactly what was going on.

Likewise, Chief at NFC, Bajura, Mekhraj Ojha said, they would recommend that contractors -- who are selling rice at a price exceeding the standard rate of Rs 1,550 per 30 kg -- be brought to book.

It takes about four days to reach Kawadi depo and Dhulachaur sales unit that are located far from the district headquarters, Martadi. According to NFC, Bajura, the approved quota of rice for these two units is 4,000 quintals for the current year.

These areas face maximum food crisis and depend upon rice sent by the food corporation.