Starvation looms large in remote Gorkha villages

GORKHA: Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) has provided only 20 kilograms of rice per year to a needy Gorkha resident.

According to the Gorkha office of the NFC, 20,000 people in 13 northern VDCs in the district had been supplied the said quantity. The Machhakhola depot distributed 2,600 quintals of rice among 13,543 people in six VDCs. The Sirdibas depot distributed 2,900 quintals among 7,061 people in seven VDCs.

The locals have said the supplied quantity was far too inadequate for them particularly because they have a poor agricultural yield in the northern cold climate. A Chumchet local, Serap Gurung said starvation was looming large in the area due to the little supply. ‘’As always, we had a poor harvest this year, which is a sign of starvation, coupled with little NFC supply,’’ he said. ‘’How are we to live through the year?” he wondered.

A Chhekambar local, Chiring Lama said, ‘’The NFC is merely fulfilling the formality of supplying food grains in the area.” According to a data prepared by the District Agriculture office, 11,000 quintals of rice is required for the people of Machhakhola area that includes Prok, Samagaun and Chhekambar VDCs. The NFC initially allocated 700 quintals to Sirdibas and Machhakhola depots each last year but added 500 quintals to Machhakhola and 300 to Sirdibas later considering that the allocation was not enough for the population.

Gorkha chief of NFC Bhojraj Pandey admitted that the people of the mountainous region in the district were dependent on the foodstuff supplied by the Corporation as there was no alternative. ‘’What we have supplied is little,” he said. Laxman Ghale, a Sirdibas local, said, ‘’People of Sirdibas, Loho, Prok, Bihi, Chhekambar and Chumchet are on the verge of starvation in the wake of the inadequate supply and the bar on entry into the Tibet.’’