Food crisis-hit villagers throng Phidim

Taplejung, May 1:

Villagers in northern part of Taplejung have been travelling all the way to the district headquarters, Phidim, walking for 10 days to buy food after the ban to enter Tibet.

As the cultivation of crop is impossible in the area and the villagers, who used to depend on Tibetan market for food because purchasing food from Tibet is more convenient than from Phidim, were restricted to enter there, they have started flocking to Phidim.

Nima Tasi Sherpa, who came to Phidim to buy food, said the villagers had not gone to Tibet market for six months due to snowfall and recent unrest.

“Village children are feeling the hunger pangs. When will I reach there with food?” Sherpa said, pointing to the sack of rice he was carrying.

“Working hard for food is better than dying with hunger,” Pema Sherpa said, asking the cost of rice at a shop in Tukre bazaar.

He said many of the villagers reached the district headquarters drenched in the rain.

The villagers used to buy rice from Tibet on their own, walking for four days, while it takes 10 days if villagers try to carry food from Phidim, Pasang Sherpa of Yangma village said, adding rice cost Rs 80 in their village though it costs Rs 30 per kg in Phidim.

President of Taplejung Chambers of Commerce and Industries Santosh Khatowoda said villagers of the northern part are facing a tough time reaching Phidim to purchase food.

Taplejung chief district officer Bhawanath Bhattarai said attempts were being made to sell rice at a lower price to the villagers from Nepal Food Corporation depot.

However, the villagers said they could buy rice at a cheaper price in open market.