Awaken Nepal

3,000 quintals of rice provided by donors found rotten

While around 3,000 quintals of rice sent by donor agencies and the government have been stored up in go-downs in the district headquarters, rotten rice has been distributed to the quake affected locals in the northern VDCs of Gorkha district.

After his visit to Laprak VDC, Chief District Officer (CDO) Uddhav Timilsina said the rice distributed to the quake-affected locals was rotten. “During monitoring, I found rotten rice was distributed to quake-affected locals,” he said. The government has still not been able to supply foodstuffs to seven VDCs in the remote parts of Gorkha district.

The District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) has stored 1,500 quintals of rice supplied by various donor agencies, including the government of Nepal, at go-downs of Nepal Army’s Bhairavi Battalion Barracks and Nepal Food Corporation (NFC). It is surprising though that the authorities have not maintained records of donor agencies who supplied rice meant for distribution to the quake affected areas.

As transporting rice to remote VDCs is costly, DDRC has entrusted certain INGOs with distributing foodstuffs to the quake-affected VDCs. The rice stored by DDRC at various go-downs in the district headquarters is safe to eat. But the World Food Program has distributed rotten rice to quake-affected locals in Laprak VDC.

It is apparent that the local authorities have avoided the burden of distributing rice in remote areas where food can be delivered only through helicopters.

Laprak is located 22 miles from the district headquarters. DDRC has entrusted WFP and Red Cross with distributing rice in Laprak VDC.

Following news reports about distribution of rotten rice, a team consisting of CDO Timilsina, and World Food Program (WFP) officials, including Richard and Sudip Singh of the depot, had visited Laprak VDC on Friday to investigate the matter.

The recent earthquake has added to the woes of locals of seven VDCs in northern Gorkha, who were already reeling under food crisis.

Sirdiwas, Chumchet, Lho, Bihi, Prok, Samagaun, and Chhekampar are the VDCs that have been facing acute food shortage. However, Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) has failed to supply food to these VDCs following the earthquake.