Liquor freely available even as food crisis deepens in Bajura

Bajura, September 3

Acute food shortage has hit Bajura, Humla and Mugu districts hard for the last two months.

Even as the food crisis deepens, there is no initiative to provide relief to the locals.

The locals are compelled to reach nearby markets and buy rice at an exorbitant price. However, the sale of alcohol is ubiquitous in the districts.

The food crisis hit four local levels to the northeast of Bajura.

Adanchuli and Tajakot rural municipalities of Humla and Khatyang and Sorukot rural municipalities of Mugu, among other places have been hit hard.

Civil Society Leader Janesh Bhandari said alcohol was easily available in areas where people are facing food crisis. Shops at Kolti, Pilichaur, Dhulchaur of Bajura; Shreenagar and other places of Humla are stacked with alcohol.

Himali, Swamikartik, Jagannath rural municipalities of Bajura, Tajakot Rural Municipality of Humla and Khatyang Rural Municipality of Mugu have banned the sale and production of alcohol, but the ban is not being implemented as liquor is being sold openly.

Alcohol is being supplied through chartered flights rather than food in areas hit by food shortage. Alcohol is sold openly even in Kolti airport amid the coronavirus crisis despite a ban on alcohol and tobacco related items.

A local, Pradip Raj Joshi, said locals were compelled to buy rice at exorbitant price due to the shortage in Kolti Food Corporation and Kawadi depot. He said people were compelled to buy rice at more than double the normal price.

It has been a long time since the food crisis hit the areas. Food is scarce in the local markets.

Budhinanda Municipality Acting Chief Administrative Officer Ram Datta Neupane said liquor was being supplied from Nepalgunj and Surkhet instead of food materials. He said his office has informed the district administration office, but this situation is yet to end. Around seven flights have taken off on a daily basis from Kolti airport.

Bajura Civil Aviation Office Acting Chief Khum Prasad Poudel said three to four flights carried liquor on a weekly basis.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 4, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.