Back-of-beyond Mugu faces acute shortage of salt

MUGU: Mugu folks have been deprived of iodised salt for the last two months. Salt Trading Corporation (STC), which supplies the commodity to 24 VDCs in the district, has been unable to meet the demand. Shortage of the treated salt looms large.

People in the VDCs go as far as Gamgadhi, the district headquarters, in search of salt. Prabinjung Shah, district chief, STC, said 18,000 quintals of salt allocated for the area was not enough. Nineteen remote VDCs of the district, namely Dolmu, Kimri, Puru, Mangri, Photu, Jima, Bheee, Purumuru, Narthabu, Dhaina, Rara, Kalai, Hyadlu, Sukadhik, Kotdanda, Gamtha, Khamale, Seri and Srikot are the hardest-hit by the acute shortage of salt.

An all-party meeting called in the district administration office four days ago had recommended establishing three depots with a stock of 2,000 quintals each.

Shah blames the shortage on contractors, who were responsible for supplying salt to seven VDCs in Khatyad area and as many in the Soru area. The suppliers failed to bring the salt on time, Shah said.

The villagers could get the subsidised salt for Rs 8 per kg. At Gamgadhi, which is a two-day walk from the villages, salt costs between Rs 50 to 80 per kg. Worse still, one does not get it in the asked quantity. “Gold is more readily available here,” Bhakta Bahadur Shahi of Narthub VDC said. “I have not been able to get a kg of salt in four days.” Ever since the government started distributing salt in the discounted rate, the Bhote communities of Humla and Mugu districts stopped supplying salt from Tibet’s Taklakot.

Rural folks in the district said they were having meal without salt. It takes six days to reach Sanfebagar, where they can buy the commodity.