Candidates quiet about perennial food shortage, underdevelopment

  • Karnali region

Nov 22, 2017-

Most candidates running their election campaigns in the Karnali region are trying to sell the voters the promises mentioned in the central manifestos of their parties since they have not prepared provincial manifestos.

Karnali has the lowest human development index (HDI) scores in the country. 

Its five districts are fraught with poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment. The region does not produce enough food grains and suffers from perennial food shortage, mostly the districts of Dolpa, Humla and Mugu.

The candidates contesting from the region do not have a clear plan to address the most pressing concerns of the voters, mainly food insecurity and lack of development, 

said Sigharaj Gurung, associate professor at the Mid Western University.  “The parties should have presented clear vision for the development of Karnali since we are now in a federal set-up,” he said. 

Kamalraj Regmi, a Nepali Congress provincial candidate, claimed that there was not enough time to prepare a separate election manifesto.

“Besides,” he added, “issues mentioned in the Nepali Congress’s central manifesto are meant for the people of Karnali as well,” he added.  

Food shortage is a major problem in Province 6. Last fiscal year there was a shortage of 38,673 metric tonnes of food grains in Karnali. 

According to the data of Regional Agricultural Directorate, five districts of Karnali region need 80,935 metric tonnes of food grain every year. However, the production is only 42,262 metric tonnes. Of 93,809 hectares of land in Karnali, only 66,606  hectares are being cultivated, according to the directorate. Records show that 27,294 hectares of land is barren in Karnali due to lack of irrigation and investment.

Discriminatory and superstitious social practices are also rife in Karnali due to illiteracy. However, the candidates are mum about ending them in their campaigns.

 “None of the candidates have raised the agenda of ending discriminatory practices out of fear that their voters might turn their back against them,” said Ratna Prasad Pandey, associate professor of Surkhet Sikshya Campus.

Published: 22-11-2017 07:36

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