JUMLA, Oct 10: Since the opening of the Karnali Highway there had been no shortage of rice in the depot of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), Jumla. Though the number of consumers was low in the beginning, there was sufficient supply of rice. But this year, all the go-downs of Jumla are empty. These days, customers often visit the NFC depot for rice but return home empty-handed.
As informed by Rana Bahadur Air, chief of NFC, Jumla, short-grain rice has gone out of stock since October 3. However, around 134 quintals of long-grain rice are available in the depot. But most villagers can't afford to buy long-grain rice. As a result, the locals are compelled to reach the district headquarters to buy rice.
In recent days, the villagers had started buying rice from NFC due to availability of a variety of rice and easy transaction of money. Earlier, buying rice from the depot was a lengthy and hectic process. In the last three months of the current fiscal year, the demand for rice has risen. In the current fiscal year alone, a total of 1,773 quintals of rice was sold by NFC in Jumla.
As the shopkeepers in the district headquarters sell low-quality rice and also fix exorbitant prices, the locals were lured towards NFC. But now they have no option other than buying the same low-quality rice paying high prices. The government had announced to provide 20 kg rice to the family celebrating birth or mourning death. But, NFC has not been able to provide rice to such families either.
It might take few more days to bring rice to the go-downs, said Air. Amid the celebration of the festive season, the demand for rice is high. So, if rice is not supplied to the locals on time, it might just dampen their celebration spirit. From this fiscal year, the government has reduced the quota for rice in the districts connected to a road.
Before Jumla, almost all the NFC go-downs in various districts of Karnali had run out of rice stock. NFC depot has been selling short-grain rice for Rs 40 per Kg and long-grain rice for Rs49 per kg.