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Choppers airlift supplies to cut off Nimtola

Relief: Upon the Command of His Majesty The King, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay yesterday visited Nimtola chiwog in Dagana.

Residents of Nimtola and Mameythang chiwogs of Dorona gewog, including a school, civil servants and the villagers had run short of essential supplies after the chiwogs were cut off due to roadblocks.

Following the Prime Minister’s visit, the two chiwogs received 94 bags of rice (2,350kg), 244 litres of soya refined oil and 200kgs of salt. The supplies were airlifted from the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB), Phuentsholing by the government’s two choppers.

Nimtola Primary School received 18 bags of rice and 50kgs of salt. Earlier this week, when the school had almost run out of rations, 24 villagers carried rations to the school from Geserling Central School.

Principal Pem Tshewang said that with these supplies the school will have enough to last until the roadblocks are cleared.  “Should we run short of it, the Prime Minister has assured us with additional supplies,” he said.

He added that the school has World Food Programme (WFP) rations in stock in a store in Geserling Central School. He added that the villagers and civil servants are facing a severe shortage of essential food items.

The remaining rations will be distributed to the public and civil servants in the two chiwogs of Nimtola and Mameythang.

Dorona’s gewog agriculture extension officer, Indra Bahadur Raika, who is currently taking care of distributing the airlifted rations, said that there are 17 civil servants in the two chiwogs. As directed by the agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji, each civil servant will be provided with a bag of rice (25kg) each.

The agriculture minister has also directed that each household in the two chiwogs be given 10kgs of rice. Nimtola has 77 households and Mameythang 30. What remains after distribution will be stored at the gewog centre.

However, the rations will not be distributed free to the public. They will be sold at a minimum price of Nu 24.55 for a kilogramme of rice, Nu 9.27 per kilogramme of salt and Nu 72.5 per litre of oil.

“This is according to the bill we’ve received from the FCB,” the agriculture extension officer said.

More supplies, including milk powder, cheese and sugar, are expected to be airlifted today.

The agriculture extension officer said that this year the people ran short of rations because the monsoon began early. People grow rice here but in small scale.

“There are three more months before this year’s crop is harvested and people have finished their last year’s harvest,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 22km Geserling-Dorona farm road has major roadblocks at five locations. The stretch also has several minor blocks.

Dorona Gup Bikash Gurung said that it might take more than a month to clear the blocks.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang

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