By Laxman Kafle
Kathmandu, Apr. 15: The Food Management and Trading Company Limited (FMTCL) has been supplying rice to ensure easy availability of food across the country during the lockdown.
“We are transporting rice across the country focusing on the hilly and remote areas considering the possible shortage of rice during the lockdown,” said Shreemani Raj Khanal, divisional chief of the FMTCL.
The FMTCL has been transporting rice to the remote areas, including Humla, by air as the demand for rice from the locals of the areas has increased amid the fear of COVID-19, he said.
The government has enforced lockdown from March 24 to prevent and control the coronavirus in Nepal.
“We supplied around 2,800 quintals of rice to Humla via airlines from its Surkhet and Nepalgunj-based depots during the lockdown. We are also supplying rice to other districts as per their demand,” he said.
The government has decided to supply foods across the country by airlines during the lockdown.
“The demand for rice from the local units has increased as they are distributing food to the poor and marginalised people as relief package following the direction of the government,” he told The Rising Nepal.
Local levels buy 12,000 quintals rice to distribute to poor
The local levels bought around 12,000 quintals of rice from the company after the enforcement of lockdown.
As per the direction of the government, the local levels are distributing rice and other essential goods to the poor people who are unable to feed themselves in lockdown.
He assured that the FMTCL was ready to deliver rice in any place where there is shortage of food as the company has been maintaining the stock of rice.
“We have around 221,589 quintals of rice in stock at present. Out of this, about 39,263 quintals of rice is in stock in the 24 remote districts,” he said.
He said that there would not be shortage of rice in the food-deficit districts as the present stock of foods would be enough to meet the demand for around four months.
The company supplies rice to 24 food deficit districts, including Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Gorkha, Manang, Mustang, Humla, Jumla in subsidized rates.
The company is supplying rice to these districts by taking transportation subsidy from the government so that it can sell rice to the locals of these places at subsidized rates.
The company is in the process to procure around 10,000 tonnes of rice from the private venders.
“We will procure rice from the private venders soon as the bidding of tender will complete on April 17. The process to select the tender will start after the bidding time comes to an end,” he said.
FMTCL begins home delivery of rice within ring-road of valley
The state-owned FMTCL has started home delivery services of rice to the consumers within Ring Road areas in the Kathmandu Valley.
The company started such home delivery facilities from Wednesday.
“We have started delivering rice to the consumers based on their call. We deliver rice to the consumers after they pay through the online system. We verify those consumers who say they will pay after the delivery,” he said.
According to him, they are receiving around 17/18 calls for home delivery on a daily basis.
This service has become effective during the period of lockdown as the consumers are unable to get rice following the norms of lockdown, he said.
Daily sales of rice through the online system stand at around Rs 40,000, Khanal added.
This service is fruitful for those consumers who are unable to get rice from the market and may discourage people from hoarding rice unnecessarily.
He said that one of the goals of the state-owned enterprises was to help control artificial price hike of goods in the market by the traders.