Bajura, September 11
Lalita Bohora, a local of Himali Rural Municipality-2 in Bajura reached Kawadi depot carrying her 10- month-old daughter to buy rice today, but ended up buying rice from the local market at Rs 85 per kg.
“I took loan from a cooperative in my village to feed nine members of my family,” she said. Lalita had walked one-and-a-half-day to buy rice, but the depot was empty.
Lalita is not the only person who has returned empty-handed from the depot.
Nani Bohora of the same rural municipality said she and a group of women had reached the depot carrying their babies in the rainy season only to be disappointed.
For the last two months Kawadi Depot has been without rice.
Ward No 3 Chairman Dhyan Bahadur Rokaya said an acute food crisis would hit the locals hard if rice did not reach the depot before Dashain. He said food crisis had, in fact, already hit wards 1, 2 and 3 of the rural municipality hard.
Around 4,000 people of these wards mainly depend on the depot for rice and when the depot runs out of stock, they buy from the market at much higher price than the depot price. Local production does not even last for two months.
Almost all the males have gone to India as migrant workers, while some have left for higher altitudes to graze cattle. Ward Chair Rokaya said the women usually went to the depot to buy rice.
Himali Rural Municipality is a far flung rural municipality in Bajura. People have to spend around seven days to reach the rural municipality from district headquarters Martadi, while villagers of the wards 1, 2 and 3 have to spend two days to reach Kawadi depot.
Meanwhile, Mekh Raj Ojha, chief of Food Corporation, Bajura branch, said there was no rice in Kawadi depot. He said that rice would reach at Kawadi depot within some days as the contract for 3,500 quintal for the depot would be finalised soon. He said that tender had been called for 900 quintal from Surkhet Food Corporation, 900 from Dhangadi, 900 from Martadi and 800 from Kolti depot.
A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.