Transportation of subsidised rice to upper Dolpa beginsLast year, the District Food Management Committee in Dolpa had allocated 3,000 quintals of foodgrains to upper Dolpa but the grains have yet to be supplied to the region.
The Food Management and Trading Company Limited has begun the process of supplying subsidised rice to upper Dolpa. In the lack of subsidised rice, the local residents of Dolpobuddha, Shey-phoksundo and Chharkatangsong rural municipalities were compelled to buy rice in the market at an exorbitant price.
“Transportation of 3,074 quintals of rice meant for Dolpobuddha, Shey-phoksundo and Chharkatangsong has already begun. Around 440 quintals of rice has already reached Dunai, the district headquarters of Dolpa, while 100 quintals of rice has been transported to Dhargaun of Chharkatangsong,” said Kamalraj Pandey, Dolpa chief of the Food Management and Trading Company Limited. According to him, around 1,000 quintals of rice is on its way to Dunai.
“The subsidised rice will be transported to Dunai on vehicles. From Dunai, we will use mules to supply the rice to food depots in remote areas,” said Pandey. “This is the first time that we are transporting rice to upper Dolpa through our own land. Earlier, the rice used to be transported via China, as the district is not connected with the national road network.”
This year, we are transporting subsidised rice to Dolpa from Surkhet since the Nepal-China border has been closed to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Dinesh Construction Materials Suppliers, a Banke-based transportation company, has been awarded the contract to transport the subsidised rice to Dho of Dolpobuddha, Dhargaun of Chharkatangsong and Saldang of Shey-phoksundo this year. As per the agreement, the transportation company will supply 8,480 quintals of rice to Dho, 9,490 quintals to Dhargaun and 10,995 quintals to Saldang.
According to the Food Management and Trading Company Limited, the local residents of upper Dolpa can buy subsidised mota rice at Rs 4,900 and jira masino rice at Rs 6,600 per quintal from the food depot. Earlier, they had to spend Rs 12,000 to 20,000 to buy one quintal of rice in the local market.
Last year, the District Food Management Committee in Dolpa had allocated 3,000 quintals of foodgrains to upper Dolpa. But the food company failed to supply food to the region, resulting in a food shortage.
Food shortage is a long-standing problem in upper Dolpa, a remote region in the Karnali Province that is not connected with the road network. Only potato, wheat and uwa can be grown in the region and the local food production is not enough to feed all the residents.
Chief District Officer of Dolpa Suresh Sunar, who is also the chairman of the District Food Management Committee, said that the supply of subsidised food grains to upper Dolpa has finally begun following repeated requests.
“The local residents were compelled to buy rice at an exorbitant price in the market, as the food depots remained empty for months. We are working to make sure that there are enough food grains in all three local units of upper Dolpa,” Sunar said.
However, Pulu food depot in Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality of Mugu, which is often hit by food insecurity due to less crop production, has been empty since May. The authorities have failed to transport subsidised foodgrains to Pulu depot that provides food to around 1,300 families of Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality.
Sharma Transportation Service, which was recently caught transporting subsidised rice meant for Mugu to Bhaktapur, is responsible for supplying foodgrains to Pulu depot. But the company has yet to supply rice there.
“We have to buy one kilogram of rice at Rs85 in the market while it can be bought at Rs50 in the food depot. But the food depot has been empty for the past eight months. There is a shortage of rice in the market as well, as transportation is often disrupted in winter due to snowfall,” said Urgin Lama, a local resident of Chittaigaun.
The Food Management and Trading Company Limited has allocated 1,750 quintals of rice for Pulu depot in the current fiscal year.
“But the subsidised rice is yet to be supplied here despite repeated requests to the Food Management and Trading Company Limited,” said Tsering Kyapne Lama, the chairman of Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality.