DOLPA, July 31: The government has been distributing subsidized rice to the people living in the remote and mountain districts since long. However, the locals of the mountain district Dolpa have stopped buying the rice distributed by the government stating that it is expensive in comparison to the locally available rice. Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), Dolpa, is responsible for distributing the subsidized rice provided by the Japanese government. According to NFC, Dolpa, the price of the Japanese rice has been fixed at Rs 65 per kilogram . This, according to the locals, is very expensive. That is why around 3,515 quintal of Japanese rice has remained unsold at various depots of the district.
Till fiscal year 2015/16, people could buy Japanese rice for Rs 50 per kg. However, this year, the price was hiked to Rs.65 per kg witcrement of Rs.15 per kg. Hari Prasad Joshi, chief of NFC, Dolpa, claims that the price of the subsidized rice is a bit expensive but it is good in quality than the rice available in the market. Sher Bahadur Budha, chief of the District Coordination Committee (DCC), stated that a letter has been sent to NFC and the Ministry of Supplies requesting them to reconsider the price of the rice as people are not buying it. According to him, the rice provided by the government on subsidy should not be expensive than the locally available rice.
NFC selling 8 different types of rice
NFC has been selling eight different types of rice in Dolpa for the first time. However, not all people can afford to buy the high quality rice. "We are obliged to rely on the rice provided by NFC just to fill our empty stomachs. If we cared so much about quality, we would have bought rice from the market," said local Dhanrupe Kami. He laments that for poor people like him, rice provided by the government is as expensive as the one available in the market.
7,491 quintals of rice could not be supplied
In fiscal year 2017/18, a total of 24,200 quintals of rice should have been supplied to Dolpa but only 16,709 quintals could be supplied. Contractors of Nepalgunj, Dang, Surkhet and Jumla were assigned with the responsibility of supplying the rice but they failed to do so. Contractors claim that lack of proper roads, difficult land topography among others delayed the supply process.
Meanwhile, locals have refused to purchase the supplied rice accusing the government of trying to sell it t an expensive rate. But some locals are forced to rely on the government-supplied rice by paying high prices. Currently, 1,269 quintals of rice remains in the district and reportedly around 1,200 quintals of it is the Japanese rice.