GORKHA, July 1: Some villages in Gorkha are reeling under acute shortage of food, though there is plenty of rice stored in a warehouse at the district headquarters.
The Nepal Food Corporation, (NFC) Gorkha depot at the headquarters has around 4000 quintals of rice stored but in lack of transportation, villagers have been forced to face shortage of food.
NFC's local depot at Machhakhola was supposed to receive around 2000 quintal rice by middle of June. But it has received only 842 quintals so far. Similarly at Sardibaas, the depot has received only 973 quintal of rice though it was supposed to receive 3000 quintals.
Worse, the depot at the headquarters has been struggling to keep the grains safe from the monsoon rain. The infrastructure that was damaged by the earthquake has not been restored so far. With the water leaking from the roof, it has been a nightmare for the storekeepers to keep the grains safe from the monsoon rain.
When contacted, officials at the headquarters informed that the transportation of grains to their destination has been suspended until a new contractor for transporting them is picked up. With the end of erstwhile contractor's agreement, the NFC is supposed to renew the agreement or pick a new contractor for the new fiscal year.
“Existing contractor's agreement for transporting the goods has finished. We can't transport the grains unless a new contractor is hired to transport the grains for the new fiscal year,” Mohan Prasad Bajgain, an official at NFC, Gorkha said.
The earthquake has severely damaged roadways and trails across the district. This has been another blockade in transportation. Outgoing contractor, Dhankumar Gurung, damaged roads were one of the major factors that obstructed them in supplying the grains to their destination on time.
“For transporting grains to Machhakhola and Sardibaas warehouses, we had to first transport them via vehicle to Thumi VDC. From there, these had to be carried to their destinations on mules which would take around two three days” he said. “But due to earthquake, the roads are completely damaged and transporting them through mules has been very hard.”
However, locals expressed dissatisfaction towards the inability of the NFC to take action Gurung for leaving without completing the terms of his contract. They claimed Gurung was well aware of the transportation condition when he signed the contract for the job in December, 2015. The depot at Machhakhola provides goods to the locals at Lapu, Laprak, Gumda, Kasigaun and Keraunja.
Temporarily, the government depots charge 42 rupees per kilo but private shops at the district headquarters charge 60 rupees for the same amount of rice. And due to unavailability of the subsidized rice from NFC, locals are forced to buy rice at exorbitant rates.