Panchthar faces food shortage

Laxmi Gautam

Phidim, April 19:

Phidim villagers are facing food shortage since Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) stopped supplying gra-ins to its depots, citing insecurity. While the supply of rice to depots in Yasok and Dashami has been stopped since 2057/58 BS, Chang-thapu and Prangbung have not been replenished since 2059/60 BS. Hari Prasad Maden, a resident of Prangbung-5, said most farmers in Prangbung, Sidin, Mameng, Chyan-gthapu, Phalaicha, and Oyam have run out of grains. Rice is in short supply, too. Moreover, as the price is exorbitant, locals cannot afford it. The NFC-Phidim said it had sent 362 quintals of rice to Chyangthapu depot last year for sale in Kapadkhada, Sablakhu and Sadeva, Taplejung, and northeastPanchthar. In 2060 BS, NFC sent 707 quintals of rice to Prangbung. The stock has not been replenished since then.

Gopal Dahal, acting chief of NFC branch office in Phidim, said depots have not paid the proceeds of the grain sale on time. Stating no bidders turned up to supply grains to Yasok and Dashami, he said contractors could not supply rice to Prangbung and Chyangthapu depots due to insecurity. Locals have to pay Rs 25/30 for a kg of rice that used to cost Rs 19.

Responding to requests for food grains, a meeting of NFC branch on April 13 sought permission from the central office to sell rice meant for Prangbung depot at Jorpokhari. The office has not given its decision yet.