Food insecurity grips remote VDCs

SURKHET: Even as locals suffer from acute food shortage, almost 108 quintals of rice, which was earmarked for them, is gathering dust in Mugu, Surkhet. The cash-strapped locals do not have adequate money to pay for the helicopter fare to transport rice to their villages.

Mugu Bhakta Bahadur Shahi, one of the affected, who is camping in Surkhet since a fortnight, claimed that Photu VDC locals had paid Rs 248,000 as transportation fare to the Nepal Food Corporation to ferry the rice. “The authorities have turned a deaf ear to our demands. Our children and family members will die of starvation if the rice doesn’t reach our villages soon,” he complained.

Birkha Bahadur Karki, a Jimi VDC resident, made a similar complaint. He had reached Surkhet around 15 days ago

after paying Rs 120,000 on behalf the locals. He, too, is cut up with the inordinate delay.

Both Photu and Jima VDCs are located at three-day walking distance from the district headquarters Mugu. Officials at Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), Surkhet, maintained that they could not transport the rice to these back-of-beyond areas in the district due to lack of budget. Purna Prasad Dahal, acting chief, NFC, Surkhet, said that he had drawn the government’s attention to allocate Rs 300,000 as transportation cost.