Taplejung runs out of subsidised rice supply as demand soars during lockdownFood Management and Trading Company Ltd has requested the centre to supply 1,000 quintals of rice to fulfil the demand.
The Food Management and Trading Company Ltd has stopped selling subsidised rice in Taplejung, citing shortage in supply due to the ongoing lockdown.
There was a sudden spike in the demand for subsidised rice after the government enforced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, Tulmaya Lunwa, the chief of the company, said.
Now, the company is left with only 246 quintals of rice to feed the inmates of District Prison.
“We have requested the central office in Kathmandu to send 1,000 quintals of rice to meet the demand,” Lunwa said.
The company had supplied 98 quintals of rice to Mikwakhola Rural Municipality Ward 5 following the lockdown.
“The lockdown had triggered the fear of rice shortage in Mikwakhola. So we transported the rice to the village at the recommendation of the District Administration Office,” Dandu Sherpa, the ward chairman, said.
Lelep and Khejenimale in Phaktalung Rural Municipality had also received rice stock from the company in the wake of the lockdown.
“At the initial days of the lockdown, a single family purchased up to three sacks of rice . As the lockdown period extended, the company’s godown started to run out of rice. We were unable to provide even one sack of rice,” Lunwa said.
Annually, the Taplejung depot of the Food Management and Trading Company Ltd. receives 1,000 quintals of subsidised rice from its central office. There is a separate quota of rice for the District Prison. The suppy was reduced by half only a few years ago after the company was unable to sell off the entire rice stock in a year.
According to Lunwa, the company has already sold 1,400 quintals of rice so far this fiscal year.
“The demand for rice is usually high at the onset of the rice plantation season and ahead of festivals. We witnessed a sudden increase in the demand for rice this time because of the pandemic,” she said.
The company has been providing a 10 percent subsidy on Sona Mansuli (Rs 39.70 per kg) and Japanese rice (Rs 42.30 per kg) varieties.
“The central office has been asked to send the supply, we don't know when the supply will arrive,” Lunwa said.