Mugu villagers walk for days to buy saltThe residents of Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality end up spending more money on the travel, food and lodging expenses for the journey than on salt, they say.
Torcha Tamang, a local resident of Chitai in Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality, walks for two days to reach Gamgadhi, the district headquarters of Mugu, to purchase iodised salt every two months.
The Salt Trading Corporation has established depots at Gamgadhi, Soru and Khatyad rural municipalities only and has yet to open a salt depot in Mugumkarmarong Rural Municipality. Because of this, the residents of Chitai, Dolfu, Karti and Kimri in Mugumkarmarong have to walk all the way to the district headquarters to purchase salt.
Until five years ago, the villagers used to import salt from Naknenadla, the Tibetan border point in Mugu. But now, there’s no supply of salt to Naknenadla from Tibet these days, they say.
The branch office of the Salt Trading Corporation in Gamgadhi sells five kilos of iodised salt at Rs 9 per kilo at one purchase. Tamang says the villagers end up spending more money on the travel, food and lodging expenses for the journey than on salt.
“We have to stay at a hotel in Gamgadhi overnight and not all of us can afford it,” Tamang said.
According to Tamang, the concerned authorities have not taken their hardships into consideration.
“It goes without saying that salt is a necessity. We have been facing this problem for the past five years and the authorities have done nothing to address it,” he said.
Tsering Kyi Apne Lama, chairman of the rural municipality, says he is aware of the difficulties the residents of Mugumkarmarong have to go through to buy salt but says his request to higher authorities to establish a salt depot in the area has fallen on deaf ears.
“In the past, we used to consume non-iodised salt brought in from the Tibetan border. Now we have to travel all the way to Gamgadhi,” he said. “The rural municipality has been making efforts to establish a salt depot but the concerned authorities have not done anything to that accord.”
However, the branch office of the Salt Trading Corporation in Gamgadhi says they will establish a salt depot in Mugumkarmarong if the concerned local unit recommends it.
“In the past, salt depots in Soru and Khatyad rural municipalities were also established by their own initiation. In order to establish a salt depot in Mugumkarmarong, the local unit should take initiatives and recommend the higher authority to establish a salt depot in their area,” said Khagendra Karki, chief at the branch office of the Salt Trading Corporation in Gamgadhi.
According to the office, 4,500 quintals of salt quota has been fixed for Mugu district in the current fiscal year. “Each of the three salt depots will distribute 1,500 quintals of salt annually,” Karki said.