Nepal Food Corporation depots empty on the eve of DashainThe residents of Mugu are compelled to buy rice in the local markets at a high price.
Residents of Mugu, a remote district in the Karnali Province, are reeling under a shortage of rice ahead of the major Hindu festival of Dashain.
All five food depots of the Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) in the district are out of stock now. Locals are worried as they are unable to get subsidised rice from the depots.
“The depots are all empty, so locals are compelled to buy rice in the local market at a high price,” said Padam Bahadur Shahi of Sorukot. “Villagers are worried about how to manage rice for the upcoming Dashain festival.”
Shahi further complained that the government authorities are insensitive towards the plight of the poor.
Villagers in Sorukot have to pay Rs 2,300 to buy a 30-kg sack of rice. Per sack of subsidised rice costs around Rs 2,150 at NFC depots, Rs 250 less than the market price. The villagers even complained that there was black marketing of rice in the area.
While all other depots in the district are empty, the NFC depot in Gamgadhi, the district headquarters of Mugu, has 150 quintals of rice in its stock. However, the rice will be provided only during emergencies, NFC officials said.
According to Tsering Lama, the chairman of Mugamakarmarong Rural Municipality, Mugu, Dolphu, Karti, Kimlri, Chitai, Takha, Khari, Riusa, Puwa and Magril, among other settlements, are under an acute shortage of food, mainly rice grains.
“Locals have to go as far as Chhail bazaar, which is about a day’s walk away, to buy rice,” Lama said.
Rana Bahadur Rawal, chief at the NFC office in Mugu, said, “Rice allocated for Mugu is yet to be transported, as the tender bidding was delayed this fiscal year. We are trying to supply rice to our depots before Dashain.”
The NFC has allocated 10,000 quintals of rice in the Gamgadhi depot this year.