Locals use subsidised rice to make hooch

Bajura, May 14

While some locals in the remote villages of Bajura suffer from acute food shortage every year, others use subsidised rice provided by Nepal Food Corporation to make hooch. Subsidised rice is sold from the food corporation’s depots in Martadi, Kawadi and Kolti of the district.

DSP Dal Bahadur Bogati of District Police Office, Bajura said hoteliers and locals living in bazaar areas and around the depots buy rice at lower-than-market prices and use it to make liquor. Bogati informed that although Bajura Police have launched a crackdown on people who make liquor at home illegally, locals continue to do so. He said police had raided several houses and hotels in the bazaar areas of Kolti, Martadi, Rajali, Bahuli, and Pilichaur and seized illegally made liquor from them.

A local hotel entrepreneur admitted to buying rice from the corporation’s depot and making liquor from it. “It is expensive to buy rice in the local markets due to famine, so I use the rice from the depot to make liquor,” she said.

Chief of Bajura Food Corporation Megha Raj Ojha said staffers at the corporation do not ask the locals what they buy the rice for. “Our duty is to provide subsidised rice to the people, not question what they are going to do with it,” he said. Ojha further added that the police and the administration must strictly control misuse of subsidised rice.