In the last eight months since the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockout, the price of products and everyday necessities in Dharchula has increased. As the festive season approaches, prices have risen further, making the everyday necessities unaffordable for locals in remote areas of the district.
Narendra Singh Dhami, a local of the Byas Rural Municipality of Dharchula, said, “The cost of Mota rice in Dharchula Bazaar is Rs 55 per kilo. In Dashain last year, the same rice was available at Rs 40 to Rs 45 per kilo. The cost of cooking oil also increased.
According to Dhami, the prices of almost all the necessities of the day, including food grains, have risen this year. “We also have to pay extra money to tractors to move goods from Khalanga, the district headquarters, to our villages,” the Kathmandu Post reported.
It takes Rs 350 to transport 40 kilos of rice from Khalanga to Sunsera by the tractor.
While talking about the travel workforce of rice-sacks, he further stated that no one in the village can afford to buy such expensive rice.
According to locals, prices of everyday necessities have risen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Dipak Joshi, a local man in Duhu, says that price hikes have made life difficult for everyone in rural Darchula.
In addition, it is also said that food products that enter the villages are past their expiration dates. This year, the price rise and the low quality of food items have been especially difficult for locals.
Indraraj Pant, vice-president of the Dharchula Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that despite repeated complaints from locals about the price rise, the authorities concerned are not doing anything to address the problem.
“The retail price of food grains and other daily essentials has risen in Dharchula, but little has been done about it. There needs to be some kind of control mechanism to hold inflation down, “Pant said.
The Dharchula District Administration Office conducts market surveillance exercises, particularly during the festive season, but the Office maintains that it has not received any price increase complaints from consumers.
Jyotsana Bhatta (Joshi), Dharchula’s Assistant Chief District Officer, said, “Two days ago, a market surveillance team inspected stores in Khalanga Bazaar. Some expired food products have been confiscated from the region. We will start tracking the business area to reduce excessive price hikes.
Even vegetables that are locally grown and do not incur transport costs are being sold at an expensive price, says Kiran Joshi, a local in Mahakali Municipality. “The cost of vegetables has tripled. The price of potatoes has risen by Rs 40 per kilo. And all of these vegetables are locally grown and do not warrant a price rise because there are no extra shipping costs to factor in.
On Friday, joint market surveillance carried out by the District Administration Office, the Food Technology and Quality Control Office and the local unit found about seven quintals of onion stored in a vegetable soup at Mahendranagar Bazaar in Kanchanpur.
Kalpana Bhatta, the administrative officer at the District Administration Office, said, “The operator of the vegetable shop has received a fine of Rs 5,000. This incident has shown that vegetable traders in the district are causing an artificial shortage of onions on the market. According to her, after receiving reports about shortages and black-marketing of onions, the team began monitoring vegetable shops in the bazaar areas, reported The Kathmandu Post.
The team also identified expired food products being sold in the Mahendranagar district, said Nawaraj Dahal, an official involved in market monitoring by the Dhangadhi Food Technology and Quality Control Office.