Syndicate row causing starvation

Dhangadhi, August 10:

Hilly districts of the far-western development region have been facing a shortage of food grains because of a transport strike fuelled by a row over the syndicate system.

Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industries has been demanding that Seti-Mahakali Truck Entrepreneurs’ Association do away with the system.

Supplies to Achham, Bajhang, Bajura and Darchula have been affected because of the dispute. NFC’s plan of sending four trucks loaded with rice to Achham failed today after transporters said they wouldn’t allow contractors to unload the consignment.

“There is no point of sending more food grains because transporters have not let us unload previous consignment,” Kunwar added. Because of the shortage of food grains, people of rural areas of Achham district have been surviving on wild roots and fruits. “We have to pay Rs 60 for one kg rice in Mangalsen,” Dil Bahadur Thapa, a local, said.

Locals said there was no stock of rice in the NFC depot in Mangalsen. NFC office in Kamal Bazaar of Achham supplies rice to rural areas of the district. However, the office has no stock of rice. “Rice could not be supplied to Kamal Bazaar depot because of the disruption in transport service,” Seti Zonal Chief of NFC Indra Kamal Thapa said. Though 180 quintals of rice was airlifted to Bajura from Surkhet on Friday, locals said the supply was insufficient.

NFC regional office maintained that there were stocks of 100 and 135 quintals of rice in Martadi and Kolti depots of Bajura district, while locals accused the depots of not distributing rice. Bajhang office of NFC has stock of 100 quintals of rice, according to the NFC regional office.

Regional office of NFC in Dhangadhi, which is responsible for the supply of rice in hilly districts, has a stock of 8,400 quintals of rice. “Though we have sufficient stock of rice, we have not been able to supply rice to districts because of transport strike,” NFC regional chief Thapa said.