Saipal residents face shortage of essentials as snowfall blocks roadsRasyalek area, which connects several villages to Kanda, the administrative centre of Saipal, is blanketed with more than seven feet of snow.
Residents of Saipal Rural Municipality, one of the remotest local units in Bajhang district, are facing a shortage of daily essentials, including food grains, due to road blockade caused by continuous snowfall for the last few days.
Rasyalek area, which connects several villages to Kanda, the administrative centre of Saipal, is blanketed with more than seven feet of snow. Because of this, locals of Kanda, Dhuli, Nyuna, Balaudi and Kaya, among other villages, have been disconnected from Chainpur, the district headquarters of Bajhang.
“There’s no rice left in most of the local shops. It’s not possible to transport rice and other essentials from the district headquarters,” said Bam Bahadur Bohara, a local of Kanda.
Jeevan Bohara, a resident of Chukjhad, said people have started rationing their meals in fear of running out of food.
“We don’t know when the roads will open so we have to watch how much we consume,” Bohara said.
Because of the limited supply of rice, the price for the grain has shot up. Mota rice, which is on high demand in Kanda, Dhuli, Balaudi and Nyuna areas, is unavailable for purchase.
“Most shops in the area have run out of their stock of rice,” said Gorakh Bohara, a local businessman in Kanda.
Rajendra Dhami, chairman of Saipal Rural Municipality, said the Food Management and Trading Company Ltd delayed the supply of subsidised rice to Saipal this year, which is also one of the reasons why these areas have run out of the grain.
“We have requested the authorities to transport rice to Saipal through helicopters,” he said.
The Food Management and Trading Company Ltd has allocated 1,000 quintals of rice to Saipal for the current fiscal year. But the supply has not reached Saipal due to delay in the contract process, said Dhami. Man Bahadur Bohara, a local civil society leader, said the locals had also met with the chief minister and import minister at the central level and demanded they solve the crisis.
“We face this problem every year. When it snows in winter, it would be nice to have our granaries full. But the concerned authorities haven’t made any provisions so far,” said Bohara.
Most of the health facilities in Ward No. 3, 4, and 5 of Saipal Rural Municipality have also run out of essential medicines that the government distributes free of cost. Lokendra Jethara, the coordinator at the Health Section of the rural municipality, said the supply of medicines is stuck in Dhalaun.
“We could not transport medicines to the health posts due to heavy snowfall. However, we are trying to transport medicines through porters,” said Jethara.