Food crisis looms large in HumlaFood shortage looms large in the district due to the prolonged drought and the Nepal Food Corporation’s failure to supply foodstuffs in time.
According to NFC Humla chief Narayan Singh KC, their godown at Simikot is nearly out of stock after residents of Khagalgaun, Syanda, Hekpa, Dadafaya, Bargaun, Thehe, Kharpunath, Chhipra, Raya and Lali were provided with their monthly quota of foodstuff.
KC said Simikot residents, who are supposed to receive foodstuff via ration card, have been deprived of the service due to inadequate stock. “There is only 300 quintals of rice left in our godown,” he said, adding, “Though we had planned to distribute food to people in remote VDCs first and then to residents of the headquarters, we could not bring in additional supplies.”
Meanwhile, ration card holders who have not been able to receive foodstuff have started demonstrations at the NFC branch office. Even students in the district headquarters who were also entitled to foodstuff from the depot have been irked.
Officials said the government had fixed a quota of 8,000 quintals of foodstuff for the NFC branch at Simikot for this fiscal year. However, only 7,475 quintals of foodstuff was ferried through air and it has already been distributed. The NFC has also cancelled agreements with contractors who were hired for supplying 1,000 quintals each from Nepalgunj and Surkhet by road but defaulted on their deal.
Likewise, 1,000 quintals of foodstuff was supposed to arrive from Kathmandu via Tibet but nothing has progressed due to damaged roads after the earthquake. The NFC had made another agreement to import 700 quintals of foodstuff each from Nepalgunj and Surkhet via air but nothing has been supplied from Nepalgunj while only 567 quintals arrived from Surkhet.
The government has been providing subsidy on transportation of foodstuff to the corporation every year but due to its negligence, the amount often remains unused. The district is not self-reliant on foodstuff and the absence of a market nearby compounds problems for residents.