Food crisis hits northern Gorkha

GORKHA: Locals of seven Village Development Committees in northern Gorkha are reeling under food crisis due to the bad yield of crops this year and the inability of the government to make foodstuff available at subsidised rates. Locals said seven VDCs, including Chhekampar, Loho, Prok, Bihi, Chumchet and Samagaun, had been hit hard due to the shortage of foodstuff.

According to CDO Jivan Prasad Oli, 2,045 quintals of rice of the 2,260 quintals allocated to Sirdibas depot had already been distributed while the remaining could not be distributed due to transportation problems in the rainy season. Locals lamented that the long spell of drought this year was also a factor as they could not plant crops like wheat, barely, buckwheat and potatoes. "We have no other option than to purchase rice provided by the government at subsidised rates. However, the subsidised rice is not available," Sonam Lama, a local said.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha chapter of Nepal Food Corporation said they had no immediate means of supplying food despite the food crisis in the VDCs of the district. "Rice allocated to the VDCs could not be supplied because of bad roads and incessant rain," CDO Oli said. He said businessmen were hesitant to supply food via mules due to the fear of floods and landslides.

Locals said this year the harvest had decreased by 90 per cent in the area, adding that the close down of Chinese checkpoints in Lorke, Gyala and Lajing had made the situation even worse, as people of the northern parts of Gorkha used to bring rice from China. "Our repeated requests to the Home Ministry to take initiatives to open the checkpoints has fallen on deaf ears," CDO Oli said.

The District Food Management Committee, with a view to reducing food crisis in the area, has decided to establish an additional depot in Prok VDC. Other depots are based in Sirdibas and Machhikhola. According to a report, there are 1,842 households in the seven VDCs where the NFC provides 29 kg of rice to an individual.