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Food Shortage Hits Upper Mustang

June 15, 2008

Rup Narayan Dhakal
The Himalayan Times (Nepal)
June 13, 2008

Pokhara, June 13 -- Locals of Upper Mustang, including Lomathang,
have been facing a shortage of food grain.

Chief District Officer of Mustang Pradipraj Kandel said, "Students
staying in hostels and policemen of the Lomathang area have been
affected due to the shortage of food grain."

The supply of food grain to Lomathang, Ghami, Charang and Chhesar
areas of Mustang district from Dhonwa district of Tibet has been
halted for three months, Kandel said.

Chinese businessmen used to supply food grain in the areas, including
Lomathang, which is three days walk from the district headquarters Jomsom.

People of Mustang go to Tibet to purchase food stuff.

A Pokhara-based branch of the Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), which
supplies food grain to Gandaki and Dhaulagiri zones, said that there
is stock of 2100 quintals of rice in its depot in Jomsom.

"We have sufficient stock of rice, but Upper Mustang might be
witnessing a shortage of food," chief of the Pokhara branch of NFC
Bhagwan Pant said, pointing that the shortage might be the result of
restrictions imposed on the entry of Nepalis into China in view of
Olympics Games.

Tibet has restricted entry of Nepali people in view of Olympic Games,
CDO Kandel said. Tibetan officials should facilitate trade between
Nepal and Tibet, Kandel said, calling on the government to hold talks
with China in this regard.

"I have heard that 200 quintals of rice will be supplied to Upper
Mustang from Tibet on June 23," Kandel said, adding, "If rice is not
supplied, I will take initiatives to supply rice there from Jomsom."

Some 4,000 people of Upper Mustang have been affected due to the food
shortage, Kandel said.

Four hundred quintals of rice earmarked for Upper Mustang in the
current fiscal has been sent to Mustang from Kathmandu via Tibet,
NFC's Pokhara branch chief Pant said.
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