Starved people throng Libang

Rolpa, August 27:

Stung by an acute shortage of food, people from different parts of Rolpa district have begun arriving in Libang, the district headquarters, in search of food.

The starved people have gathered outside the office of the Nepal Food Corporation to buy rice.

The shortage of food grains has gripped the villagers after crop yield decreased this year.

“We came here on hearing that rice was being sold cheap,” Banamali Thapa of Thapadera of Korchabang

4, said. Along with 15

neighbours, Thapa came to Libang walking all day long.

The Food Corporation has been distributing rice on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It has been distributing 10 kg of rice to each resident of Liwang VDC and 30 kg to each person who hails from other parts of the district.

As per the existing provision, people can buy rice based on recommendation from VDC secretaries.

Taking into account the looming starvation, NFC has managed to bring in more rice from Nepalgunj.

The food shortage has affected people of Rangsi, Bhawang, Ghartigaon, Oat, Mirul, Kotgaon and Dhabang VDCs of Rolpa the most. With VDC secretaries living in the district headquarters, miseries of these people have only increased.

Some villagers have entered India to eke out a living, while many of them have sold utensils and cattle to meet expenses required to visit the district headquarters in search of food.

Fifty families of Korchabang have been facing starvation, according to a teacher Maniraj Budha. “Due to the shortage of food grains, some are working as domestic aides to eke out a living,” a local politician Prem Gahrti said, adding that Dalits and Magars had been hit the hardest.

According to the District Agriculture Development Office, 1.68 lakh people of the district buy food grains every year. The district has a population of 2.1 lakh.

According to a report, Rolpa imports 22,000 metric tonnes of food grains from neighbouring districts every year.

Only 20 per cent farmers in the district can do without purchasing food grains.

As most of the males left home during the decade-long conflict, women, children and senior citizens have been forced to bear the brunt of starvation.

Most of the youths have gone to India’s Kalapahad to eke out a living for themselves and family members.