Nepalgunj, August 21
Although the government has been selling rice sent by Bangladesh government as relief to victims of last year’s earthquake in Karnali Zone, locals in four Karnali districts are facing acute shortage of food due government’s failure to deliver rice as per the allocated quota.
Of the total 67,000 quintals of rice dispatched from Birtamode in Jhapa, 39,954 quintals of Bangladeshi rice has been sent to Nepalgunj and Surkhet-based Nepal Food Corporation’s godowns to be supplied to the Karnali region.
Though the rice came to Nepal from Bangladesh more than one year ago as relief for quake victims, it was dispatched to Nepalgunj and Surkhet.
Keeping in view the acute food shortage in Karnali, the erstwhile KP Oli-led government decided to dispatch 30,000 quintals rice to Humla, Mugu, Kalikot and Dolpa districts of Karnali four months ago. Of the total, 30,000 quintals to be sent, only 7,317 quintals were dispatched to those districts.
The remaining rice has remained at the godowns of Nepalgunj and Surkhet.
Of the total 9,500 quintals allocated for Humla, only 2,000 quintals has reached the district. Similarly, 3,050 quintals out of 6,000 quintals, has reached Mugu. Out of 7,000 quintals allotted, only 2,317 has reached Kalikot.
Surprisingly, not a single grain has reached Dolpa though 8,000 quintals rice was allocated for the district, said Nepal Food Corporation mid-western Regional Officer Purna Prasad Dahal said. Dahal informed that contractors had been reluctant to supply rice due to high transport cost and rainfall.
According to Dahal, of the total rice, 7,000 quintals has been sold. “We shall send the remaining stock to Karnali.” The rice is being sold at Rs 41 per kg.
Food Corporation Humla Chief Narayan Singh KC said that rice was not supplied as per the allocated quota. “The rice has not been supplied despite our repeated requests to the centre,” KC bemoaned.
Meanwhile, the government has come up with the rider that the relief rice sent By Bangladeshi government will be sold only after the locals get involved in development works. “The DDC selects project, engages people to work in the project and sells the rice at Rs 41 per kg,” KC said.
Locals have to work in development a project.
A person receives Rs 450 per day as per government rule. We give rice at the cost of Rs 41 per kg out of the same money, KC added.
Journalist Nabraj Mahatara from Humla said far flung villages of Karnali are facing acute shortage of food due to non-supply of rice as per the allocated quota. “The rice has been stored in the godowns of Nepalgunj and Surkhet, Mahatara said. He added that production of food crop in Karnali’s districts was almost nil due to prolonged drought.
Locals bemoaned Bangladeshi rice was of low quality.
“The government took our money and gave us low quality rice,” Gyane Rokaya of Maila VDC in Humla complained. “I made fodder of the rice and fed a buffalo,” Rokaya said.
A version of this article appears in print on August 22, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.