Nepal | June 03, 2020

Locals feeding on mouldy rice

Himalayan News Service
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Bajura, January 14

Residents of the remote villages in Humla, Bajura and Mugu have been feeding themselves mouldy rice, it has been learnt.

According to Narendra Budha, a social activist of Maila VDC in Humla, residents of Rugin, Bichhyan and Badhu; and Humla’s Shreenagar, Kalika, Jahar, Maila and Madena; and Mugu’s Shreekot and Hyanglul have been consuming mouldy rice.

As the places are not linked by any road network, the locals there don’t have any option other than resort to the rotten rice.

“Whether it’s Humla, Bajura or Mugu, basic commodities including food items are sent from Dhangadi and as it takes months for those items to reach the destinations and again for months they are stored in local stores, it’s natural for the food items to degrade by the time they reach the consumers,” Budha said.

Worse, the rice, albeit mouldy, doesn’t come cheap as the locals are paying up to 120 rupees for a kilogram.

In fact, it’s not only the rice but also cooking oil and salt that the locals are paying dearly for even though they are sub-standard or date-expired.

The plight of security personnel stationed in the districts is no different. “What else can we do as this is the only item we get in the local market?” bemoaned Assistant Sub-inspector Rana Bahadur Chand, in-charge of Kawadi Police Post, adding the situation is the same for colleagues at other police posts, including Humla’s Shreenagar Police Post and Mugu’s Shreekot Police Post.

Locals have rued their plight of having to eat sub-standard rice, attributing it to apathy on the part of the local administration in carrying out regular market monitoring.

“The administration is well aware about the woes of the people here, but it does nothing to make sure that the public get quality food even at higher price,” regretted Assistant Health Worker Karansingh Saud of Maila Health Post, adding that the same is causing malnutrition among new mothers and babies.

Crunch of food items too has been looming large over the villages after the long-drawn drought destroyed food crops.

A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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