Himalayan News Service

Phidim, May 9:

Food scarcity has hamstrung over a dozen of VDCs in the northeast part of Panchthar and Taplejung districts after the local administration beefed up security for transportation of food.

Authorities said stocks in both depots were depleted two months ago. On April 12, a severe hailstorm added to the problem as it destroyed winter crops. Durga Prasad Kharel, a social worker, said 25,000 people in the area were facing starvation. The trouble-hit area is a two-day walk from district headquarters. People are having to pay Rs 25 for a kilo of rice, said Gyan Bahadur Rai, principal of Chhiruwa Primary School at Sidin VDC-1.

The food depot in Prangbung VDC of Panchthar was serving the people of Prangbung, Sidin, Ektin and Memeng while Chyangthapu depot was serving food to Chyangthapu, Phalaincha, Sadewa and Oyam of Panchthar and Kalikhola, Sadewa and Sablakhu among a dozen other VDCs of Taplejung. Security bodies have increased vigilance in food supply since June last year due to security reasons. The VDCs since then were depending on nearby Indian bazaars of Rimbik, Sirikhola and Dentam but a complete ban on crossing the border imposed by Indian border security forces this year has deprived the people of even the opportunity to purchase food.