KATHMANDU, April 2: The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies is forming uniform standard for local units for the distribution of food stuffs for rational distribution of relief items to the needy people at the grassroots Nepal.
Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said that the standard has been issued to ensure access of daily wage earners and deprived people to relief to be distributed by the government. The ongoing nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 has made life difficult for daily wage earners, among others. The lockdown, which was announced on March 24, will be in place till next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the government has assured people that there will not be disruption in the supply of daily essentials even during the lockdown. Despite the government's claim, people are having hard time to purchase the necessities mainly due to lack of coordination among the authorities concerned.
It has hit mainly the daily wage earners and deprived people as they hardly maintain any stocks of edibles out of the money they earn on daily basis. At a time when the government is struggling to maintain smooth supply even in the Kathmandu Valley, it has raised question on the government's commitment to ensure smooth availability of essentials for people living in rural areas.
According to the ministry, the Food Management and Trading Company Limited has 24,616 tons of rice in the buffer stock that could be distributed at any time of need. This includes 3,500 tons of rice allocated for 23 remote districts. The available food is estimated to meet the domestic demand for three months. Similarly, the Salt Trading Corporation has 7,000 tons of sugar and salt sufficient to meet the demand for next 10 months. For the past few days, government agencies have been distributing food through mobile outlets.
The cabinet meeting on Sunday announced to provide 10% subsidy on rice, wheat flour, sugar, edible oil and pulses sold through these two government agencies. The government has also decided to supply food stuffs to local units as per the demand. They have been asked to maintain the record of food distributed in relief.